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It was long thought that the four musical settings of the Passion of Christ (one from each Evangelist) contained in a Dresden manuscript of 1668 were all the work of the great Heinrich Schütz, who spent nearly two-thirds of his life in that city as court composer to the Elector of Saxony; not until the 1960s was it established that the St Mark Passion from the set was in fact by Marco Gioseppe Peranda, a much younger colleague of Schütz.

Although composed only around 60 years before the grander Passions by Bach, Peranda’s Passion (as with Schütz’s) is a totally a cappella work, for the most part intoned to faux-plainchant and with only the occasional four-part turba chorus; this was because the use of any instrument in the court chapel was banned in Lent. What Norbert Schuster has done is to intersperse the sections of the Passion with meditative vocal and instrumental works, not so much in order to recreate a specific Holy Week service, but rather to give a flavour of the musical life of the court; thus, in the course of this recording we hear plainchant responses as well as music by Schütz and Christoph Bernhard, another court composer.

The performances on this two-disc set are consistently excellent, and present Peranda’s music in the best possible light – no mean feat, in my book, to be compared to Schütz.

Adrian Horsewood Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Early Music Today, 2016 - ©Rhinegold Publishing