Together with Schütz and Scheidt both of whom were friends of his, Schein introduced the Italian style to German music and successfully grafted it onto Lutheran church music. Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam (Christ our Lord to Jordan came) which Schein composed for the Feast of the Nativity of St. John and published in Opella Nova in 1618 is a setting of a text by Martin Luther. It’s a very Italianate and cleverly written piece of music which makes use of colourful word painting and in which each phrase is first stated and then decorated using the phrase itself in diminuendo – a difficult trick to pull off successfully but Schein manages it very well indeed. The dialogue between the two voices is very reminiscent of Monteverdi. Enjoy :-).
Text & Translation: Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam
Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam
Christ our Lord to Jordan came,