About the album
Ars Antiqua Austria and Gunar Letzbor present outstanding sacred concerts by Rupert Ignaz Mayr (1646-1712) for voice, a virtuoso solo violin and basso continuo. Mayr, working in Munich from 1683 until his death, is considered a reformer of southern Germany’s Catholic sacred music with his clever combining of the largely protestant sacred concert of the north with the extemporizing concertante style of Italy.
R.I. 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 the 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 J.K. Kerll or the Austrian masters around H.F. Biber.
Ars Antiqua Austria played August 23rd on the opening concert on the Early Music Festival in Utrecht. Muffat’s only surviving mass In labore requies is a typical example of the large-scale vocal and instrumental multichoral composition popular in Salzburg at the time. Together with his ensemble Ars Antiqua Austria the violinist Gunar Letzbor is one of the main champions of Austrian Baroque repertoire, which has so far remained largely unexplored. ...