Music from Stams Abbey (Austria)

The music archive of Stams Abbey is the musical treasure room of Tyrol. The collection contains several thousand music manuscripts and music printed editions, which fortunately have survived in the abbey despite repeated threats to their preservation. The significance of the archive, which has a research value that goes beyond regional studies, lies above all in the fact that an enormously dense collection of sources is preserved from the transitional period from the Baroque to the Classical music style during the second half of the eighteenth century. The musicologist Hildegard Herrmann-Schneider has meticulously catalogued this splendid collection and made it accessible in the RISM catalog (RISM library siglum: A-ST). This enabled Manfred Schneider to present a large number of compositions to the public through concerts with accompanying CDs as part of his project of an acoustic music history of Tyrol.

A new DVD contains the activities related to this work, including the contents of the 26 CDs produced in the series "Musik aus Stift Stams" since 1994 and additional releases from the CD series "Klingende Kostbarkeiten aus Tirol," which also contain music from Stams Abbey.

Highlights include live recordings of the first performances of all symphonies by Jan Zach (1713-1773) that are preserved in Stams, which show him as one of the most important pioneers of the classical symphony, and the discovery of the composer Johann Elias de Sylva as Tyrol's first composer of symphonies. An outstanding event was certainly the modern world premiere of the famous Kindersinfonie, which turned out to be the work of the Benedictine priest Edmund Angerer (1740-1792; RISM ID no. 650002544). Johann Michael Malzat (1749-1787) was also closely associated with the abbey and nearly all of his numerous compositions that are preserved in Stams are available on this DVD. A special focus throughout our voyage of discovery was of course Stefan Paluselli OCist (1748-1805), the Stams house composer. His compositions, which are original and consistently of high quality in both spiritual and secular genres, are in a way the soul of the whole project.

With this DVD and the more than 200 works it contains, the music archive of Stams has been made accessible in multifaceted ways with important selections from monastic music. Over many years, a rich body of aural reminiscences from a former music tradition has come together, which may appeal to the music lover as much as it can provide a foundation of sources and inspiration for music research.

Image: Concert of angels, detail from a ceiling fresco by Franz Michael Hueber (1729), Stams Abbey, prelature.

Photo and ©: Hildegard Herrmann-Schneider (2015)

Technical execution of the DVD: Michael Steiner-Schweissgut

With support of the cultural department of the Tyrolean government.

© Institut für Tiroler Musikforschung Innsbruck 2017 - All rights reserved -


Category: New publications

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