Sacri Concentus - Antiphone, 1681 (2019)

Mayr

Ars Antiqua Austria, Gunar Letzbor

In terras descendam The descent to earth of the glad tidings is depicted figuratively. The melody moves down the staves in thirds as on a staircase. Repeating this image a fourth higher increases the intensity of the message’s significance. By linking together trills, the proclamation is spelled out in all its excitement. The request to the shepherds to come running to worship the small child is clad in a dance-like melody in triple metre. Triple time tunes suggest a pastoral scene, rich ornaments evoke the embellished instrumental playing of the humble people. The sounds of the recorder and the viola (or the trombone) also recall the familiar image of music-making shepherds. An exuberant sense of elation establishes itself.

The call to make music in honour of the growing child is enlivening. The shifting stresses of the hemiola endings seem playful and jaunty. In the ensuing sonata, the dotted 6/8 metre is taken up by the instruments, enjoying a game of imitation. The goings-on become increasingly wild and merry; an unrestrainedly rustic shepherds’ dance appears in our mind’s eye.

The following section is dedicated to the raptured worship of the boy. The calmly swinging 3/2 metre lacks any sort of worldly weight. The delighted spirit soars up into heaven. The echo effects increase the weightlessness of the happy spirit even more. In paradise, we will be kings – that is the promise. Rapture grows into heavenly exultation.

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Ars Antiqua Austria

Ars Antiqua Austria was founded in Linz in 1989 with the aim of introducing audiences to the roots of specifically Austrian baroque music played on period-instruments. The music performed at the imperial court in Vienna at this period shows the strong influence of Italy and later of French forms, while Spanish court ceremonials also shape the character of the works. The typical Austrian sound of the period also betrays the influence of the many Crownlands. The political and social boundaries of Austria in the baroque era were far wider than in the 20th century. Elements of Slav and Hungarian folk music mingle with alpine sounds and can be heard in the art music of the period. The Austrian sound also reflects the temperament and character of the Austrians of that period - a unifying element in the melting-pot of many different cultures: the joie de vivre of the South, Slav melancholy, French formality, Spanish pomp and the Alpine character of the German-speaking regions. This fusion of court- with folk music and a strong element of dance music form the typical Austrian sound.
The core of Ars Antiqua Austria comprises 8 musicians directed by Gunar Letzbor. The ensemble is readily augmented to accommodate a still wider repertoire..
During its early years ARS ANTIQUA AUSTRIA gave numerous concerts while researching the achievements of Austria`s baroque composers in depth. Thanks to Gunar Letzbor's unflagging commitment, many works received their first performance in modern times. Enthusiastic reviews welcomed CDs of music by Weichlein, Biber, Conti (together with the mezzosoprano Bernarda Fink), Viviani, Mealli, Arnold, Caldara, Aufschnaiter, Vilsmayr, Vejvanovsky, Schmelzer, Muffat, Hochreither, Mouthon, Radolt, Aumann and of course J.S.Bach.

 

Gunar Letzbor

Gunar Letzbor studied composition, conducting and violin at Linz, Salzburg and Cologne. His encounters with Nicolaus Harnoncourt and Reinhard Goebel ignited a deep passion for period instruments and performance practice, leading him to perform extensively with Musica Antiqua Köln, the Clemencic Consort, La Folia Salzburg, Armonico Tributo Basel and the Wiener Akademie. 
Gunar Letzbor founded his own ensemble, Ars Antiqua Austria, an instrumental ensemble of varying size dedicated in particular to the exploration of the rich, but neglected, baroque repertoire of his native country and its neighbours. Corollaries of this voyage of re-discovery have been not only the unexpected finds of musical masterpieces otherwise destined to languish in obscurity, but also the articulation of a uniquely central-European instrumental sound and its often deeply spiritual inspiration. 
As a soloist and with Ars Antiqua Austria, Letzbor has made numerous recordings (including several world premieres), featuring works by Mozart, Bach, Biber, Muffat, Aufschnaiter, Viviani, Schmelzer, Weichlein, Vejvanovsky, Vilsmayr and Conti. Many of these CDs have received major record awards, including the Cannes Classical Award and Amadeus' Disco dell'Anno. Particulary remarkable was his world's premiere recording of Sonate for violin solo by J.J.Vilsmayr and J.P.Westhoff.

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Sacri Concentus - Antiphone, 1681 (2019)

Mayr

Ars Antiqua Austria, Gunar Letzbor

Mastering Engineer: Bert van der Wolf
Notes: Gunar Letzbor
Producer: Bert van der Wolf
Recording Engineer: Bert van der Wolf
Recording location: Altomonte-Saal, St. Florian, Austria
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD

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CC72828: Sacri Concentus - Antiphone, 1681
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Tracks.
1.
In terras descendam
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2.
Ave Regina coelorum
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3.
Salve Regina
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Alma Redemptoris mater
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Regina coeli laetare
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