St. Florian Sängerknaben, Ars Antiqua Austria, Gunar Letzbor
Accent ACC 24358
There are obscure composers and then there are the likes of Benjamin Ludwig Ramhaufski and Joseph Balhasar Hochreither! The latter was born halfway through the lifetime of the former and, mostly on account of the prominent trumpet parts, there is not much to distinguish their music; indeed, on a blind listening, I defy even a seasoned lover of 17th-century music not to assume it’s either Schmelzer or Biber… Such is the quality of the polyphony and the lyrical ease of the melodies. Combining boy’s voices with those of six men works very well and the instrumentalists clearly enjoy the chamber music feel. Gunar Letzbor’s quest for “true sound” typically gives a dry edginess to his recordings, but here the rather warmer acoustic allows the sound to blossom a little without detracting from the detail. I have enjoyed having this CD in the car for the past few weeks – it is bright and uplifting, and I highly recommend it.