Mayr: Psalms from Sacri Concentus 1681

Ars Antiqua Austria, Gunar Letzbor
Challenge Classics CC72759

OFTEN THESE DAYS groups attempt some sort of liturgical reconstruction when they perform and record selections of Vespers music. Not so here. Even though there is plenty of room for another psalm and a Magnificat, Letzbor (whose booklet note spend six pages talking about the training of choir boys before devoting two to the little that is known with much certainty about Rupert Ignaz Mayr) is forced by restricting himself to a single publication to give us four psalms performed by four different singers with four-part string accompaniment and a similarly scored hymn setting. Boy treble Fabian Winkelmaier sings Laudate pueri, tenor Markus Miesenberger Confitebor tibi Domine, alto Markus Foster Beati omnes, bass Gerd Kenda Nisi Dominus and male soprano Alois Mühlbacher Venite gentes. These are what Letzbor calls “honest” recordings with no extra engineering to “nicefy” the sound, so the sound is quite dry which pays dividends at the ends of phrases where the decay is fairly rapid. I am disappointed that at least one more piece from the 1681 publication was not included – there are some really nice moments on this recording!
Brian Clark

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