The Viennese musician Karl Kohaut was not only a great lutenist and string player who performed with Haydn and the young Mozart, but also a composer in his own right. The pieces on this new CD, which were written during the time of transition between the baroque and classical periods, are here performed by a group which specialises in music from this age, Ars Antiqua Austria. The disc also includes a trio by Haydn that Kohaut would himself have performed.
Karl Kohaut lived in the time of Mozart and Haydn, and is considered to be the last great Viennese lutenist. He was however also a remarkable composer in the style of the transitional phase between baroque and classical, and wrote pieces for all the different string instruments, including the double bass, an instrument widely played at musical occasions in Viennese cultural circles. One of these took place at the salon of Baron Gottfried von Swieten on Sundays between 12 noon and 2 pm was regularly attended by Kohaut, and often included the likes of Albrechtsberger, Wagenseil, Haydn and, later, Mozart. Ars Antiqua Austria was founded in Linz in 1995 with the aim of introducing audiences to the roots of specifically Austrian baroque music played on period instruments. The core of Ars Antiqua Austria comprises 8 musicians and it is directed by Gunar Letzbor. The ensemble is readily augmented to accommodate a still wider repertoire.