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Ars Antiqua Austria | Instrumental Music in the Abbey of St. Florian
Ars Antiqua Austria /Gunar Letzbor
Challenge Classics / HQ|NORTHSTAR
DISC 1: Franz Joseph Aumann | Chamber Music
DISC 2: Antonio Vivaldi | The Four Seasons
DISC 3: Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber | Sonatae Tam Aris Quam Aulis Servientes
DISC 4: Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber | Fidicinium Sacro-Profanum
DISC 5: Christoph Graupner | Concertos, Ouvertures & Sonatas
(Low Resolution excerpts)
Gunar Lezbor: Franz Josef Aumann was born in the Austrian town of Traismauer in 1728 and studied music in Vienna, where he came across many important musicians of his time. It has not yet been established why in 1753 he relocated to Sankt Florian. He must have been unusually talented, as two years later he became Regens Chori, one year before his ordination to the priesthood. From that point he remained in the service of the monastery until his death in 1797. He composed “entertainment” music of the highest quality – pieces that were played for the amusement of invited guests, on special occasions, or simply between the various courses of lavish banquets. In the archives of St Florian Monastery not many chamber works have survived – only a handful, but these are of outstanding quality. The quintets are remarkable. Here the master develops a particular style of chamber music: two violins are juxtaposed with two violas. Both groups of instruments have equal status and enter into a lively discourse. Aumann mastered all the compositional techniques of his time. We can, however, observe a particular preference for melodic lines reminiscent of the folk music that was practised in the region. For contrast, we have added the Cassatio in D, where the radiant sound of a flautello bestows a special aura upon the music. The concluding Parthia in C where trumpets symbolise the divinity or a high social position. Aumann must have been extremely innovative, not worrying too much about any rules within his environment.
Gunar Letzbor: "It is almost impossible nowadays to perform Vivaldi’s music without any preconceptions, even if one engages with it only rarely. Vivaldi’s sound is ubiquitous. Or is that perhaps the sound of only a few works from his rich oeuvre? When I played through “La Cetra” for the first time on the violin, I found some typical Vivaldi-isms which I really cannot stand. At the same time, however, I was surprised to find a remarkable body of new features waiting to be discovered. One just must not succumb to the temptation of immediately putting the familiar Vivaldi stamp onto everything. I have, in the meantime, formed an even greater friendship with Vivaldi. There is so much to discover amongst his works, away from mainstream sounds. This recording and its preparation: practising in peace and quiet; trying out sounds; receiving and discarding ideas; taking in the texts; rediscovering melodies and, if possible, never listening to any Vivaldi recordings."
Austrian Baroque music takes centre stage in the repertoire of this unusual Baroque ensemble. The music performed at the imperial court in Vienna at this time was initially heavily influenced by the music of Italy, later by that of France; Spanish court ceremonial also had important artistic effects in Vienna. The typical Austrian sound of this era was characterised by the impact of its many royal domains. The political and societal boundaries of Baroque Austria stretched much further than nowadays. Elements of Slavic, Hungarian and Alpine folk music styles had lasting effects on art music, making up its specific sound. The title “Sonatae tam aris quam aulis servientes” suggests that these works can be used for both sacred and secular purposes. They represent the first of several collections of pieces for polyphonic instrumental ensembles (published in 1676, 1680 and 1682) in which Biber demonstrated his mastery in handling the most important forms of instrumental music of his time.
H.I.F. Biber: a genius, whose life story is for the most part unresearched, a violin virtuoso who raised the technique of violin playing in Austria to an incredibly high level, a man of incredible powers of imagination and the courage to venture on abstraction. The complexity of his work is astonishing, his oeuvre encompasses a range from richly orchestrated church music, artfully elaborated chamber music, to virtuoso music for his personal solo instrument, the violin.
In his collection Fidicinium Sacro-Profanum, Biber set new standards also in the field of string chamber music. In the first part the master composes for five-part string ensemble: 2 violins, 2 violas, violone and basso continuo were established at his time as the standard ensemble in Austrian cultural circles. In a richly coloured, five-part setting, Biber artfully weaves a polyphonic texture that allows one or more parts to alternate and come
to the fore. In the second part of this colletion he dispenses with the five-part arrangement hitherto predominant in Austria. He compensates for the luxury of sound by augmenting the flexibility of the four individual parts.
Perhaps it is simply the humility and clear, alert ear of all the musicians in the ensemble in confrontation with the special qualities of Biber’s chamber music that convey to the audience the qualities of the master’s musical message!
He was a contemporary of J.S. Bach and J.J.Fux but his name is not well-known because his employer Ernst Ludwig obliged him to the function of Kapellmeister in Darmstadt: Christoph Graupner. The composer never visited Vienna in his life!
Ernst Ludwig secured the lifelong stay of Graupner in Darmstadt in 1723, by a substantial salary increase, which made him, as a court conductor, the highest paid orchestral-leader of his time and prevented at the same time that he migrated to Leipzig, where they had offered him the post of cantor. After that another 37 years followed in the service of the court in Darmstadt. Graupner eventually went blind in 1760 and therefore in the last six years of his life, was no longer actively conducting the orchestra.
The instrument chalumeau is in the spotlight on this new album of Ars Antiqua Austria, with music of the Austrian composer Graupner. The chalumeau was probably developed in the late 17th Century by the Nuremberg instrument builder and inventor of the clarinet, Johann Christoph Denner (1655-1707) and was structurally and acoustically optimized in such a way that it has been used by many composers of the Baroque period and the early (pre-) classical music period, for concerts, suites, arias and chamber music. The chalumeau is forerunner of the clarinet, but the two instruments existed parallel to each other in the 18th century. It was not until the late Baroque era the loud and powerful baroque clarinet became the more popular one and the chalumeau slowly disappeared from the musical scene.
Christoph Graupner is considered one of the most important composers for chalumeau. He knew how to use the instrument skillfully -despite its limited tonal range - for sacred and secular music, and he can be seen as one of the most innovative composers and sound experimenters of the 18th Century.
Sonata I a otto
Sonata II a sei
Sonata III a sei
Sonata IV a cinque
Sonata V a sei
Sonata VI a cinque
Sonata VII a cinque
Sonata VIII a cinque
Sonata IX a cinque
Sonata X a cinque
Sonata XI a conque
Sonata XII a otto
Sonata I In B Minor
Sonata II In F Major
Sonata III In D Minor
Sonata IV In G Minor
Sonata V In C Major
Sonata VI In A Minor
Sonata VII In D Major
Sonata VIII In B Major
Sonata IX In G Major
Sonata X In E Major
Sonata XI In C Minor
Sonata XII In A Major
Concerto a 2 Chalumeaux, 2 Violis. Viola e Cembalo C-Dur GWV 303: Vivace
Concerto a 2 Chalumeaux, 2 Violis. Viola e Cembalo C-Dur GWV 303: Andante
Concerto a 2 Chalumeaux, 2 Violis. Viola e Cembalo C-Dur GWV 303: Allegro
Sonata per Cembalo obligato e Violino g-Moll GWV 709: Largo
Sonata per Cembalo obligato e Violino g-Moll GWV 709: Allegro
Sonata per Cembalo obligato e Violino g-Moll GWV 709: Andante
Sonata per Cembalo obligato e Violino g-Moll GWV 709: Vivace
Ouverture a 3 Chalum. 2 Violis. Viola e Cembalo F-Dur GWV 449: ( )
Ouverture a 3 Chalum. 2 Violis. Viola e Cembalo F-Dur GWV 449: Allegro
Ouverture a 3 Chalum. 2 Violis. Viola e Cembalo F-Dur GWV 449: Bergerie
Ouverture a 3 Chalum. 2 Violis. Viola e Cembalo F-Dur GWV 449: Air
Ouverture a 3 Chalum. 2 Violis. Viola e Cembalo F-Dur GWV 449: Le Desire
Ouverture a 3 Chalum. 2 Violis. Viola e Cembalo F-Dur GWV 449: Rejourissance
Ouverture a 3 Chalum. 2 Violis. Viola e Cembalo F-Dur GWV 449: La Speranza amoroso
Ouverture a 3 Chalum. 2 Violis. Viola e Cembalo F-Dur GWV 449: Menuet
Sonata per Cembalo e Violino g-Moll GWV 711: Largo
Sonata per Cembalo e Violino g-Moll GWV 711: Presto
Sonata per Cembalo e Violino g-Moll GWV 711: Largo
Sonata per Cembalo e Violino g-Moll GWV 711: Menuet
Ouverture a 2 Corn: Tym: 2 Chalum: 2 Violin. Viola, Fagott e Cembalo F-Dur GWV 452: ( ) - Largo - da capo
Ouverture a 2 Corn: Tym: 2 Chalum: 2 Violin. Viola, Fagott e Cembalo F-Dur GWV 452: Menuet
Ouverture a 2 Corn: Tym: 2 Chalum: 2 Violin. Viola, Fagott e Cembalo F-Dur GWV 452: Air
Ouverture a 2 Corn: Tym: 2 Chalum: 2 Violin. Viola, Fagott e Cembalo F-Dur GWV 452: Tempo di Sarabande
Ouverture a 2 Corn: Tym: 2 Chalum: 2 Violin. Viola, Fagott e Cembalo F-Dur GWV 452: Air - da capo
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