With the Thirty Years' War raging around them, Lutherans considered death to be the true fulfilment of their earthly life. Prince Heinrich von Reuss organised all the details of his funeral in advance, from the music that would be sung - to be composed and then performed by Heinrich Schütz during the funeral ceremony - to the coffin itself. Our programme includes not only the renowned Musicalische Exequien but also other funeral motets by Schütz, one of which was composed on the death of his friend Johann Hermann Schein.
After the success of their CD of works by Samuel Scheidt (RIC 301), Vox Luminis now take up the challenge of one of Schütz's greatest sacred works. It should be noted that the CD cover art is a photograph of a section of the coffin that Reuss himself had ordered; Prince Heinrich XIII Reuss has most generously allowed its use by Ricercar for this recording. The coffin is made of solid copper; its richly decorated exterior is studded with cartouches that contain liturgical texts selected by the deceased prince.