Ars Antiqua Austria / Gunar Letzbor

Haydn's Lute Player

Price: € 12.95
Format: CD
Label: Challenge Classics
UPC: 0608917232325
Catnr: CC 72323
Release date: 02 October 2009
1 CD
✓ in stock
€ 12.95
Challenge Classics
Catalogue number
CC 72323
Release date
02 October 2009

About the album

The salon of Baron Gottfried von Swieten was the meeting place each Sunday between 12 noon and 2 pm of an illustrious circle, whose guests included Albrechtsberger, Wagenseil, Haydn and, later, Mozart. Joining them, too were Johann Starzer and Karl Kohaut as violinists.

Leopold Mozart had already sent reports in 1764 about “Monsieur Cahut (!), joier de la luth” during his trip to Paris with Nannerl and Wolfgang. Kohaut was staying there at the same time, also in his function as a court clerk to prepare for the marriage of Archduchess Maria Antonia – Marie Antoinette – to the Dauphin.

In the style of the transitional phase between baroque and classical, this music hailed the listener with a laughing cheeriness and innocence very seldom encountered in Austrian baroque music. A playfulness in melodic structure, the paired-down instrumentation, theurge to simplification in harmony are strongly reminiscent of folk music that still exists today.

The double bass concerto moreover proves Kohaut to be a connoisseur of the special bass instrument played in Viennese cultural circles.
The Viennese double bass is anautonomous instrument type with its own tuning, its own number of strings (5), its own construction, and thus its own potential in sound and technique.

Kohaut made his last will and testament on 24 March 1780. In paragraph 8 he decrees that “his lutes and other instruments, but especially his music manuscripts be preserved so long until someone is found who appreciates them and can use them”. It was a special matter of concern for us, the members of the ensemble Ars Antiqua Austria, to comply with this wish and bring Karl Kohout “back home to Vienna” in our interpretations – which we hope will be the subject of lively controversy
Tussen barok en de Weense Klassieken
De salon van Baron Gottfriend von Swieten was iedere zondag tussen twaalf en twee uur ’s middags de verzamelplaats van een kleine, vermaarde groep, onder wie Johann Albrechtsberger, Georg Christoph Wagenseil, Joseph Haydn en later ook Amadeus Mozart. Onder hen waren ook de violisten Johann Starzer en Karl Kohaut.

Op dit album wordt naast een trio van Haydn een concert van de violist Kohaut gepresenteerd. De muziek is een voorbeeld van de overgangsperiode tussen barok en de latere Weense Klassieken en wordt gekenmerkt door een vrolijkheid en onschuld die zelden voorkomt in de Oostenrijkse barokmuziek. De speelsheid in de melodieën, de uitgeklede instrumentatie en de simpele harmonieën doen denken aan de Oostenrijkse volksmuziek die vandaag de dag nog steeds bestaat. In dit concert staat de Weense contrabas centraal. Dit is een autonoom instrument met zijn eigen stemming − vijf snaren in plaats van de gebruikelijke vier − een eigen ontwerp en dus ook een eigen timbre en techniek.

In zijn testament schreef Kohaut dat hij wenste dat zijn manuscripten net zo lang bewaard zouden blijven tot iemand ze zou waarderen en kunnen gebruiken. Op dit album wordt dit gedaan door het ensemble Ars Antiqua Austria, dat de muziek gebruikt in zijn eigen interpretatie. Dit gezelschap, onder leiding van Gunar Letzbor, is in 1995 opgericht en richt zich op de uitvoering van de vroege Oostenrijkse barokmuziek op historische instrumenten.
Auf ihrer neuen CD m�chte Ars Antiqua Austria dem letzten Wiener Lautenisten Karl Kohaut (1726-1784), der auch ein bemerkenswerter Komponist war, ein musikalisches Denkmal setzen. Er war ein begnadeter Lautenvirtuose im Umfeld von Joseph Haydn. Das Verspielte in Kohauts Melodiebildung, die entschlackte Instrumentierung, der Drang zur Vereinfachung in der Harmonisierung erinnern stark an noch heute existierende Volksmusik. Ars Antiqua Austria hat sich seit 25 Jahren auf �sterreichische Barockmusik spezialisiert und hat viele Kompositionen wieder entdeckt und auf CD eingespielt: u.a. von Radolt (Challenge), Weichlein, Biber, Conti, Aufschnaiter, Vilsmayr, Vejvanovsky und Schmelzer (Arcana & Symhonia).


Ars Antiqua Austria was founded in Linz in 1995 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 and of course J.S.Bach. In 2000 Ars Antiqua Austria commenced a cycle of concerts in the Vienna Konzerthaus on the theme of Austrian Baroque music. Beginning in 2001 the ensemble is playing a leading part in a concert series with more than 90 concerts called “Sound of Cultures - Culture of Sound”. Ten different programmes will being repeated in Vienna, Prague, Bratislava, Cracow, Venice, Ljubljana, Mechelen, Budapest and Lübeck.
Recent tours have taken the ensemble to the Festival de la Musique Baroque at Ribeauville, Berlin Festival of Ancient Music, Festival Printemps des Arts at Nantes, Mozartfest at Würzburg with an opera production together with Michael Schopper, Tage alter Musik at Herne, Festival de Musique de Clisson et de Loire Atlantique, Folles Journées de Nantes, Musée d’Unterlinden Colmar, Monteverdi Festival Cremona, Festival Baroque du Sablon, Salzburger Festspiele, Flanders Festival, Festival Bach de Lausanne, Bologna Festival, Vendsyssel Festival, Concerti della Normale Pisa, Resonanzen Wien, Klangbogen Wien.


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