Heinrich Schütz’s Das Wort ward Fleisch (The Word was made flesh) is one of 29 motets from his 1648 Geistliche Chor-Music, it is a setting of the iconic Advent text in which St John unveils the wonder of the Incarnation. It is not a stretch of the imagination for this to be played on brass instruments—these motets were written in the model of Schütz’s teacher, the great Giovanni Gabrieli, who presided over the golden age of brass in Venice. As in Gabrieli’s choral works, the vocal lines would have been doubled by instruments, and in fact Schütz noted that these motets were “to be used both vocally and instrumentally”. An imperious D minor opening gives way to dancing celebratory figures, and the setting is largely declamatory, with constantly-shifting groupings of voices. It builds to a forceful climax with the whole ensemble, cathartically resolving to a triumphant D major.

Parts included:

  • Score
  • Trumpet in E-flat
  • Trumpet 1 in B-flat
  • Trumpet 2 in B-flat
  • Trombone 1
  • Trombone 2
  • Trombone 3 (Bass)
  • Tuba