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With Trumpets and Drums
The Hofmusikkapelle
1296–1918

As early as the Middle Ages, the Habsburgs had already had their own Musikkapelle or band of musicians which consisted mainly of vocalists who were used in processions and at church services. Maximilian I reformed the Court Music and deployed it to enhance the splendour of his Court. During the Renaissance it gradually became separated from the sacred context. The Court Music supplied the music not only in the Court church but also at Court festivities and at table, and in addition accompanied the ruler on his travels. The Hofmuskikapelle had its heyday in the Baroque period and performed with augmented forces for the more lavish opera productions scored for a larger ensemble. Sacred music came to the fore again from the eighteenth century onwards, but despite several attempts at reorganization, the Kapelle never regained its earlier potential for innovation.

 

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