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Cantiones sacrae is the long-awaited follow up to Magnificat’s critically acclaimed 25th anniversary recording, Scattered Ashes. The Cantiones sacrae is an unusual work that stands quite apart from Schütz’s other published sacred music in both scale and style. The collection comprises forty Latin motets for four voices, plus a figured bass for continuo accompaniment (realized on this recording by lute, violone and organ), which was added later by the composer. The perfectly crafted works are composed in a learned, contrapuntal style rich in dissonance and range of expression. Schütz cleverly mirrors the intensely intimate nature of the texts using a musical language that looks to inward expression rather than to external effect. Schütz takes every opportunity to exploit vocal timbre and technique in the service of word-painting, with the virtuosic vocal lines ranging from a conservative imitative style to the most avant-garde, chromatic style of the Italian madrigal. Magnificat’s performance of the Opus 4 motets reveals Schütz to be a composer with an imagination of extraordinary variety.