Wonderful Sounds of the Renaissance
In Tyrol

“Wonderful Sounds” of the Renaissance refers not only to the incomparable beauty of the sonorities in the music examples offered here, but also to the miracle that these works have been rescued for our present time in spite of countless wars, devastations and neglect over so many centuries.

In Innsbruck, the place of origin for almost all of the compositions presented here, hardly any musical sources have remained. However, it was possible – through extensive research in numerous European libraries and archives – to bring back the almost complete repertoire of the Innsbruck Court Chapel that has survived, mainly in printed materials, to its original site. A large part of this historical body of sources was subsequently transferred into modern notation, and the single vocal parts were combined to form scores useful for modern performance practice. This extensive inventory of music scores is completely accessible as a part of our documentation project. Manfred Schneider, as the initiator of this exceptional undertaking, took the further step of choosing compositions from this body of works and organizing them into the coherent concert programmes that are now completely documented by this DVD. In addition, he worked as an inventive arranger, adding a colourful variety of musical instruments to the works that had only survived as vocal parts, and also resetting some of the music using vocal solos and instruments, thus providing a soundscape rich in variants that deservedly fits the intention of this artistic music. Thus, an innovative soundscape has been created – oriented not so much to the historical requirements and conditions of former times, but guided also by the timeless spirit of this splendid music.

The Renaissance era in Tyrol is closely associated with Ambras Castle and its ruler, Archduke Ferdinand II of Tyrol (1529-1595). In the almost thirty years of his reign, there developed under this Tyrolean Prince Regnant an elaborate courtly life guided by the spirit of the Renaissance. Music played a prominent role there. This Prince’s passion for collecting, which filled Ambras Castle to overflowing with artworks and curiosities, naturally affected the Court Chapel, which was structured according to European flair. The efforts of the Archduke to attract foreign artists to his luxurious Court were helped by his family relationships to most of the royal houses in Europe. Thus, in addition to the Austrians active at the Innsbruck Court Chapel at that time, there were also musicians mainly from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Poland and Spain. Many of Ferdinand’s musicians were internationally recognized composers whose works were disseminated (at times in several editions) by the most important publishers of the day, and so the reputation of the Innsbruck Court Chapel was spread far and wide. Thus, the live recordings of our concerts serve to document here some works by Blasius Amon, Christian Hollander, Georg Flori, Leonhard Lechner, Jakob Regnart, Franz Sales and Alexander Utendal that resounded not only at courtly festivities at Ambras Castle, but also at sacred occasions in the Court Church at Innsbruck – as a convincing monument in sound for this golden age of Tyrol’s cultural history.