Open main menu
Henry II Reuss, Count of Gera

Musikalische Exequien (Funeral music), Op. 7, SWV 279–281 is a sacred composition by Heinrich Schütz, dating from c. 1635/36. Written for the funeral services of Count Henry II, Count of Reuss-Gera, who had died on 3 December 1635, it is Schütz's most famous work of funeral music.[1] It comprises the following sections:

I Concert in Form einer teutschen Begräbnis-Messe
II Motet Herr, wenn ich nur Dich habe
III Canticum B.Simeonis Herr, nun lässest du deinen Diener

Henry II had planned the service himself and chosen the texts, some of which are scriptural and others of which are from 16th-century Lutheran writers, including Martin Luther himself. He also commissioned Schütz to compose the music on the occasion of his death.

Part I, by far the longest part of the work, is scored for SSATTB (2 sopranos, alto, 2 tenors, bass) chorus alternating with small ensembles of soloists. Part II is scored for double choir SATB SATB, and part III for SATTB choir and a trio of soloists. All movements are accompanied by basso continuo.

The work was not well known to Brahms, though his German Requiem is remarkably similar in content.

The work was the first requiem in the German language.[2]


There have been many recordings, making the Exequien the most recorded work of 17th-century German vocal music. Among the recordings:


  1. ^ Haar, James (2014). European Music, 1520-1640. Boydell & Brewer Ltd. p. 365. ISBN 184383894X.
  2. ^ The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica (26 December 2015). "Heinrich Schutz". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  • Wolff, Christoph (2005). "Bible and Hymnal in Johann Sebastian Bach's Music". In Carl Schalk; Carlos R. Messerli (eds.). Thine the amen: essays on Lutheran church music in honor of Carl Schalk. Kirk House Publishers. p. 112. ISBN 1-932688-11-0.

External linksEdit