music of the week – Berchtesgadner Musik from Edmund Angerer

by ada

I should seriously consider renaming this series from “music of the week” to “music once in a while”, haha. Well, that’s life, I guess. But since I’m planning to leave in a few months and still have a lot to say about early music in Salzburg, I need to hurry up with it a little.

This time I chose a very well-known piece – a bit too well-known, I would say. I’m sure you all already have heard about the Toy Symphony written by Joseph Haydn? Or at least, the Toy Symphony written by Leopold Mozart? Well, forget everything you’ve heard about it. Because Toy Symphony, as a phenomenon, simply just doesn’t exist. This music is called Cassatio ex G or Berchtolds-Gaden Musick (in modern German Berchtesgadner Musik), and was composed by the Benedictine monk Edmund (originally Johann Nepomuk) Angerer. He, during his lifetime, was a renowned organ player and the composer of numerous pieces of both religious and secular music, of which, unfortunately only a few survived the fire that ruined the monastery of Fiecht in the year 1868.

Angerer fell quickly into oblivion after his death but his music became enormously popular already during the 18th century. It got its “nickname”, Kindersinfonie (Toy Symphony) due to the (in the province Berchtesgaden commonly produced and used) toy instruments it was composed for.

I prefer this video to other (better) ones because I like the way the performing musicians are enjoying themselves (if only in a very Eastern European way) (well, at least I feel at home while listening to it, haha), even if the guy with the recorder headpiece has clearly never been told that it is in fact possible to keep a recorder in tune. Even if you have only the headpiece of it to work with.

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