Revival of a Baroque Mass from the Music Archive of Wilhering Abbey

Ikarus Kaiser

Monday, January 15, 2024

On 8 December 2023, a baroque mass was revived in performance at Wilhering Abbey (Upper Austria) from the monastery’s own music archive. The “Missa Sancti Alani” was written by Franz Xaver Weinwurmb, who worked as an organist and composer at Wilhering Abbey around the middle of the 18th century (RISM ID no. 600077650: RISM Catalog | RISM Online).

Born in 1720 in Steyregg near Linz, Weinwurmb got married in Eferding in 1761 and died there in 1795. The music archive of Wilhering Abbey holds a total of five works by him, including four masses. Further compositions by Weinwurmb are also preserved in the archives of Lambach Abbey and the Diocese of Passau (RISM Catalog | RISM Online). The “Missa Sancti Alani” was intended for Alan Aichinger (1705-1780), who was elected Abbot of Wilhering in 1753, and is strictly speaking the monastery’s patron saint. Weinwurmb also left behind a “Missa Sancti Raymundi” dedicated to the previous abbot Raimund Schedelberger (1696-1753).

The “Missa Sancti Alani” offers several virtuosic solos for both the singers and the organ, its harmonies are varied and thoroughly modern for the time, and the use of brass instruments gives its orchestration a most splendid and solemn character. A performance in 1861 on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the abbot Alois Dorfer (1807-1892) suggests that at Wilhering Abbey the mass was held in special esteem also in later times.

At the performance on 8 December 2023, the Abbey’s Kapellmeister, Till Alexander Körber, led the Wilhering Abbey Choir and Orchestra with Ikarus Kaiser sitting at the organ.

If you are interested in acquiring a recording of the performance for private purposes, feel free to contact abbey organist Ikarus Kaiser.

Image: Franz Xaver Weinwurmb, Missa Sancti Alani, Manuscript copy in A-WIL 1129, Photo credit: Musikarchiv des Stiftes Wilhering

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