Howard Arman's 1986 recording of Heinrich von Biber's 1693 setting of the Vespers was the first ever made of the work, and there have not been many takers afterward; mainly Ton Koopman, who recorded them in 1992 and released the result as filler to his Erato recording of the Biber Requiem. In this Ars Musici release, Arman leads the Salzburger Bachchor and the Schola des Kollegs St. Benedikt of Salzburg contributes the chant incipits, the Salzburger Barokensemble provides the main accompaniment, along with the little wind band Bläserkreis Innsbruck. Ars Musici's Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber: Marienvesper 1693 is a very good recording, especially considering that it was made of a then unknown work in conjunction with a festival; soprano Kym Amps and alto Christopher Robson are standouts among the vocal soloists. Biber's Vespers are very gracious and fit well within the conventions and context of their era. This is not as enthralling as Konrad Junghänel's recording of Biber's Litanae de Sancto Josepho, nor any version of the Missa Salisburgensis; these pieces are far more low key and modest in both scale and scope. But they still evince Biber's originality and variety, particularly the long section in pedal on "Nisi Dominus"; two instrumental sonatas from Biber's Fidicinium Sacro-Profanum tam Choro (1683) bookend the vespers service, but the disc is still a tad short, running only 40 minutes total.
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AllMusic Review by Uncle Dave Lewis