„The Treasure of Sheet Music held by Müllner Peter“ – The Sachrang Musical Collection

Müllner Peter of Sachrang


Huber was the owner of the Milner farmstead at Aschach, a small hamlet outside the gates of Sachrang which included a milling plant. As a second job, Huber who must have enjoyed a higher level of education at school looked after the office of a choirmaster and organist in the Sachrang church. In this function, he managed to build an Ensemble with the help of which he was able to perform church music that was accompanied instrumentally.

Huber showed much engagement in favour of the care of ecclesiastical music in his hamlet. He financed the construction of a new organ, provided music classes and gathered a rich repertoire of contemporaneous works of ecclesiastical scores most of which he copied himself.

The Collection Contains Manuscripts of the Entire Family

In some case, among the preserved sets of vocal parts of the collection may be found the characteristic autograph manuscripts of Huber's wife Maria Hell as well as those of his nephew and heir Joseph Auer. The latter picked up Huber's commitment in favour of the ecclesiastical music performed in villages and provided further manuscripts to the collection. Auer also wrote complementary voices for older works that offer insights into the changed performing practice of ecclesiastical music around the middle of the nineteenth century. For example, he created new voices for modern brass instruments such as keyed bugles or flugelhorns and for the "bombardon" (an early form of the bass tuba) which meant a rejection of the classical sound ideal dominated by string instruments.

Peter Huber's brother Thomas finally not only presents himself as one of the scribes in the collection but also as a composer. Thomas Huber apparently set some simple ecclesiastical songs to music, but also a Latin litany for choir acapella. Next to these family members there are further local scribes whose traces can be found in the manuscripts of the collection, among them the young Sachrang teacher Wunibald Lesche (b. 1813).

Content of the Collection

The Sachrang collection comprises over 300 manuscripts and several printed works of which Latin and German church compositions form the greatest part. An exception are smaller remnants, which only appeared later and which are kept today in the Müllner-Peter-Museum; these sources were also digitialized for the online presentation.

Latin and German church compositions form the largest and most important part of the collection, which also contains instrumental works, especially dances and divertimenti, as well as some sociable secular vocal works. Among the composers of the secular works are some famous names, for example Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791) with the minuets KV 585 (Mus.ms. 7516) and the Deutsche Tänze KV 586 (German Dances, Mus.ms. 7515). Or Michael Haydn (1737–1806) with several secular ensemble songs in the composite manuscript Mus.ms. 7585.

Most of the works in the collection are set as vocal parts, only a few are also noted down in score notation. Huber created dedicated title binding for the respective vocal parts which in part are ornamented with a great deal of phantasy and colourfully. Here floral motifs may be found that remind of decorative painting as typical for farmsteads but also abstract symmetrical forms are being used. Supposedly, Maria Hell collaborated on the artistic designs of some of these bindings.

Georg Augustin Holler (1744–1814)

The works by Georg Augustin Holler (1744–1814), a composer hailing from the Upper Palatinate who worked in Munich as municipal musician, take a prominent place in the collection. As a choir boy of the episcopal chapel in Freising Holler had received a thorough training by the master of the court chapel Placidus von Camerloher (1718–1782). With c.100 preserved ecclesiastical compositions, two secular occasional works, 24 divertimenti and two collections of German dances Holler is the composer whose work is represented most strongly in Huber's collection.

Most of Holler's works are preserved as unique copies. Among these are as the most important genre 17 Latin missae solemnes. In addition, there are missae breves, litanies, vespers, German Lied-Messen (missae cantatae), offertories, ecclesiastical hymns as well as a cycle of seven Passion cantatas.

Huber seems to have known Holler personally, since his collection comprises such a large number of unknown works by the composer. One of these is an autograph score by Holler for eight carols for Advent (so-called "Ariettes") composed for three to four voices and organ and dated to 1806 (Mus.ms. 7347). The two composers most often represented in the collection, are both from the Tyrol: Wilhelm Lechleitner, Augustinian canon from Neustift near Bressanone/Brixen (1779–1827), and Joseph Alois Holzmann (1762–1815), organist from Hall. Sachrang is located in the immediate border region between Bavaria and the Tyrol which accounts for the lively cultural exchange.

Sacred Hymns in the Sachrang Collection

A regional specialty of the Sachrang collection are the sacred hymns, in particular Christmas carols with pastoral themes, situated between ecclesiastical music with "high" artistic aspirations and alpine folk music. Apart from Lechleitner (three motetti pastorali, Mus.ms. 7496 / Mus.ms. 7508) Müllner Peter (Milner Peter) himself worked in this field, for example with three Christmas Carols for three voices, two clarinets, two horns, two violins and bass. (Mus.ms. 7478). Several songs to the Virgin Mary, typical examples for the popular piety of the time, were composed by Peter Huber. One of these was the hymn "Gekrönte Himmelskönigin" (Crowned Queen of Heavens, Mus.ms. 7473) which is still sung today in Sachrang. Author: Steffen Voss

>> This collection is part of the holdings of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Bavarian State Library) and the Müllner Peter Museum.