MAYR (1646-1712) Confitebor tibi - Psalms, Motets,
Concertos Ascendit Deus [5:16] Scapulis suis [2:49] Confitebor tibi [11:00] Jubilate Deo [4:45] Meditabor in mandatis tuis [1:58] Beati omnes [8:21] Dominus regnavit [3:56] Confitebor tibi [2:43] In terras descendum [8:56] Credidi propter [2:13] Passer invenit [2:19] Ave Regina coelorum [7:47] Laudate Dominum [0:48] Formula votiva sodalium [7:31] Confitebor tibi [3:26]
Bach (soprano), Eliabeth Popien (contralto), Hans Jörg
Mammel (tenor), Gotthold Schwarz (bass)
Capella Weilburgensis vocalis, L'arpa festante/Doris Hagel
rec. September 2006, Schloßkirche Weilburg, Germany. DDD HÄNSSLER PROFIL PH08022 [73:47]
Ignaz Mayr was one of the representatives of the high baroque
in Southern Germany. He was born in Schärding, near Passau,
but nothing is known about his musical education. In 1670
he entered the service of the Prince-Bishop of Freising
as a violinist. From 1683 he worked at the court of Elector
Max Emanuel in Munich, where he not only acted as violinist
but also started to write music. In 1706 he returned to
Freising to work as Kapellmeister and composed religious
and instrumental music. There he also wrote a number of
school operas to be performed by the students of the episcopal
Mayr is a largely unknown quantity, but in his time he
was a respected composer and twenty years after his death
Johann Gottfried Walther included him in his 'Musicalisches
Lexicon'. In recent years there has been an increased interest
in his music. Music for Vespers was recorded on Arte Nova
in 2002 (directed by Gerd Guglhör) and in 2006 the early
music label of Austrian radio ORF released a recording
with sacred concertos and one school opera, directed by
Germany was under Italian influence; it was in particular
Johann Caspar Kerll - who had studied with Frescobaldi
in Rome - who brought it to Munich. Mayr's music reflects
this influence as he makes use of the Italian concertato
style: on this record the solo pieces are testimony to
this. In addition he composed motets in the 'stile antico'.
Another feature of Mayr's works is that he often treats
voices and instruments on equal terms. One could probably
argue that Mayr was a mostly rather conservative composer.
The musical language of the 'school operas' on sacred subjects
is reminiscent of the oratorios of Giacomo Carissimi (1605-1674).
this disc pieces are taken from three different sources.
There is no specification as to which piece comes from
which collection nor the scoring of the various works.
That is unfortunate as the programme contains several pieces
with the same text. Also unfortunate is that a handful
of works also appears on the disc released by ORF mentioned
most expressive works are the pieces for solo voice with
instruments. Here we find some fine examples of text expression
which the singers bring out very well. Soprano, contralto
and tenor all give splendid performances; only the bass
has no solo piece to sing, whereas the alto has two. Sometimes
I find Elisabeth Popien a bit too restrained, but that
is a minor detail. Hans Jörg Mammel is especially impressive
in 'Confitebor tibi Domine' which is the longest piece
on this disc.
concertos have a remarkable scoring: 'Beati omnes' is set
for solo voice (alto), solo trombone and bc. This instrument
regularly appears in music written in southern Germany
and Austria, for instance in oratorios performed during
Lenten. The trombone also appears in the Christmas concerto
'In terras descendam', with soprano solo, recorder and
'basso di viola'.
four soloists sing together in some four-part pieces which
are performed here with one voice per part. Here their
voices make an excellent blend. Other pieces are performed
by soloists and choir, and these are somewhat less convincing.
The main problem is the difference in sound between the
two groups, which is often a problem in music like this.
In the 17th century all vocal music was written for an
ensemble which sang the tutti passages and whose members
also took care of the solos. That kind of performance guarantees
a more homogeneous sound than is the case here.
there is no doubt that the Capella Weilburgensis Vocalis
is a fine ensemble, as represented on this disc. The members
of the choir are not listed in the booklet, but judging
by its sound I think it is likely to be considerably larger
than most ensembles of Mayr's time. A smaller ensemble
would have been preferable, as the instrumental score is
realised with one voice per part. The orchestra L'Arpa
festante is a good ensemble, which perhaps is not that
well-known outside Germany but shows its good qualities
here. The list of players does not identify the player
of the recorder in the solo concerto 'In terras descendam'.
booklet contains informative programme notes in German
and English, but the Latin lyrics have not been translated,
which is disappointing, as not all texts are commonly known
- for instance 'Passer invenit' or 'Scapulis suis' - and
nowhere is the source of the text given. These are certainly
no minor inconveniences, but I would still like to recommend
this recording since music from this time and region is
largely unknown and not well represented in the catalogue.
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