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Benedikt Anton Aufschnaiter's surviving worklist includes both instrumental and sacred works, with the latter predominating and including the Vespers setting recorded here, one of two sets published as op. 5 in Augsburg (not Passau, as Pan’s heading has it).

The title page gives the scoring as four concertante voices, two viols and two bass violins, with ripieno chorus. The Dixit Dominus and Magnificat, much the most grandiose sections, also call for a pair of trumpets. Letzbor also adds three trombones to support more climactic choral moments. The music, with its rapid alternation between grandly imposing choral blocks, contrapuntal passages and more melismatic writing for the concertante soloists, is likely to remind listeners of Biber’s sacred works, though I would suggest it lacks the distinction of the best of his music.

The performances, probably on a larger scale than originally intended, make a persuasive case for the composer, though the soloists from the St Florian choir are not always pitch perfect.

Brian Robins Read the full review on Agora Classica


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Early Music Today, 2016 - ©Rhinegold Publishing