"Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens." - Maria von Trapp

Rupert Ignaz Mayr

Rupert Ignaz Mayr was born in Schärding am Inn (Upper Austria) in 1646 and died in Freising (Bavaria) on 7 February 1712. He probably received his first music lessons in Passau.

A distinguished violinist, Mayr played at the episcopal chapel at Eichstätt in 1678; he had already performed under Kapellmeister Mazzuchini at the princearchbishop’s court in Freising in 1670. He worked both in Regensburg and in Passau. In 1683 he moved to Munich where he was engaged not only as “Primus Violinista Aulae et Camerae musicus”, but also as composer.

On 26 July 1706 the prince-bishop Johann Franz Eckher von Kapfing und Liechteneck appointed Mayr as Kapellmeister at his court in Freising. Here, he was responsible not only for church music but also for chamber music. Works such as his violin sonatas, a series of school plays, as well as music for singers and instruments  attest his prowess as a composer.

Mayr’s works were influenced by his study trip to Paris as well as the Italian musicians who dominated musical life at the Munich court. Paired with echoes of Bavarian folk music, Mayr’s music reveals both a typically Austrian blend as well as very personal hues.

At that time, Catholic church music was dominated by the “stile antico”. Mayr gently expands this ancient art by introducing the concerto form as well as monody. He elaborately weaves polyphonic textures, his monodies emerging highly expressive, melodious and also virtuosic. Mayr easily joins the ranks of his famous Austrian colleagues, matching the quality of a Johann Kaspar Kerll or the Austrian masters around Heinrich Franz Biber. 

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Sacri Concentus - Antiphone (1681)
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Psalms from Sacri Concentus 1681
Ars Antiqua Austria / Gunar Letzbor