Music in the Upper Swabian monasteries – former Benedictine abbey in Zwiefalten

Ernest Weinrauch Kain und Abel, oratorio for solo, choir and orchestra

State Choir Latvija
Members of Baden-Baden and Freiburg SWR symphonic orchestra
Conductor – Alexander Sumski


Ernest Weinrauch (1730-1793), subprior and member of the chapter of the monastery of Zwiefalten, is a shining example of the effort of the Upper Swabian monasteries to come up to their own needs of church music to a very large extent by thorough training and support of qualified conventuals. Until his death in 1793 Weinrauch was highly respected as an excellent organ player, contrapuntist and composer. Weinrauch’s composition agrees with the positive spirit of Enlightenment. The composer looks less at the action as such, but at the reactions and feelings of the acting characters. The oratorio was passed on as a manuscript, which can be roughly dated to 1800. However, the work cannot be performed from that manuscript, since the material of the single voices is not complete. At Weinrauch’s time it was common to deal with the material rather freely, both with the music and with the text. Therefore it was also necessary to make some changes for a performance of today: Alexander Sumski made an arrangement of Weinrauch’s oratorio, in which the single movements were better harmonized, and in which also the whole course of the oratorio was shortened. This arrangement was the basis for the version of Kain un Abel recorded on this CD.