Aufschnaiter: Memnon sacer ab oriente (Vesper op. 5)

St Florian Sängerknaben, Ars Antiqua Austria, Gunar Letzbor
52:49
Pan Classics PC 10349
+Hugl: Organ works

Why do musicians have to make outrageous claims for lesser-known composers? Referring to Aufschnaiter as “the Catholic Bach” is not what I would consider helpful in trying to raise the public profile of a composer whose music need only be given air time to acquire his own fan base. Anyone who goes out and buys this CD, expecting to be amazed by fabulous music they cannot believe they have never heard before is likely to be disappointed; neither by the music, nor the performances, I hasten to add, as both are perfectly enjoyable and uplifting. The programme is built around of the first of two sets of Vespers psalms published as his op. 5 of 1709, four years after he succeeded Georg Muffat as Kapellmeister in Passau. I love the sense of big open space and the combination of trumpets and sackbutts with a small vocal group (as is Letzbor’s wont) with a finely balanced string ensemble. I really would prefer just to hear the music on its own merits – it has plenty and they are gloriously realised here!

Brian Clark