Sight and Sound
Music in Aristocratic Treasuries
The "chamber of arts and curiosities" at Schloss Ambras contains a collection of musical instruments wich Archduke Ferdinand II. had obtained because of his interest in the history of art. Besides this collection he possessed valuable musical manuscripts in his library as well as numerous musical instruments, wich were kept in his "music chamber" and wich were used by musicians of his court.
The present special exhibition distinguishes between two types of musical instruments, too: There were the ones that were collected to be exhibits and the others that were used for playing music. So, wonderful instruments like sordunes, curtals, trumpets and trombones, different violins, lutes and harpischords can be looked at as well as listened to with an audio guide.
The exhibition also illustrates how music was performed in the 15th and 16th century, even during the reign of Emperor Maximilian I. Instruments like the "dragon shawm" were used for the theater and masquerades of the time created acoustic as well as optic effects.
How festivals were celebrated in the 17th century is shown by some high-quality paintings by for example Johan Baeck and Hieronymus Janssens. Musik as medium for stocktaking is to be seen in the pose of the lute player in a painting by Bernardo Strozzi.
The exhibition was arranged by Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien (Collection of Ancient Musical Instruments and Collections Schloss Ambras). Besides its own exhibits it presents numerous objects of private exhibitions which have not been shown in public before.As a delightful completment of the exhibition, baroque and renaissance music will be performed at the "Ambraser Schloßkonzerte" at the Spanish Hall of Schloß Ambras every Tuesday, starting on July 5th.