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The violinist Gunar Letzbor is an established specialist in performing Austrian baroque music, in particular, he has intensively grappled with works by Biber, Muffat and Schmelzer, to name three examples. In so doing, he is constantly searching for a specifically Austrian baroque string sound. Manuscript XIV 726 of the Minoritenkonvent in Vienna is one of the most important sources of Austrian baroque music. From over 100 sonatas within it, Gunar Letzbor has compiled the series "ex Vienna" consisting of three programmes which shed light on various aspects of Austrian violin music. On this, the second CD of the series – Scordato – Gunar Letzbor has recorded violin works in which the instrument must be retuned, thus sounding in scordatura. It enables violinists to play more complex chord connections whilst creating additional sound effects through the loosening or tightening of the strings. This alters not only the range of the violin, but also its sound: when the instrument is tuned lower, it has a gentler, softer effect; when the strings are tuned higher, the violin sounds more brilliant and penetrating. Most present-day violinists are unaccustomed to playing in scordatura and tend to avoid compositions using this technique. Gunar Letzbor therefore merits special credit for having assigned himself this task, thus bringing to life previously unheard pieces of this important collection.
Johann Heinrich Schmelzer: Violin Sonata, "Sonatina Amorosa" [Wiener Minoritenkonvent, Manuscript XIV 726: No. 1]