The German composer Heinrich Schütz (1585–1672), the son of an innkeeper, was lucky enough to be talent-spotted by the Landgrave Moritz of Hessen-Kassel who heard him sing as a young man and asked to be entrusted with his education. Moritz must have been discerning, for Schütz was to become the pre-eminent composer of the seventeenth century, saturated with Italian ideas and achieving a wonderful marriage between the German language and musical imagination, both tasteful and clear. The brilliant and joyful Hodie Christus natus est
alternates triple-time dancing Alleluias with duple-time sections to proclaim the birth of Christ. The piece as a whole is a riot of energy and rhythm with great juxtapositions between slow and fast pulses and high and low voices, all of the hallmarks of the Baroque period towards which Schütz clearly points the way.
from notes by Andrew Carwood © 2006