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The Habsburg Empire was a unique melting pot of cultural currents at the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th centuries. Similar to the French court, the emperors in Vienna sought to distinguish themselves through music. In contrast to Versailles, however, there had already been a strong affinity to Italian music here. Coupled with the influences from the Bohemian region and the many travel movements across the Alps, this led to a marked flourishing of musical life in eastern Central Europe. This original concept program present works by Caldara, Bonporti, Händel, Biber, Ziani and Muffat, a mix of Cantatas on secular texts and instrumental sonatas, all bearing witness of the extraordinary high musical level of the period. The Arava Ensemble (Arava is Hebrew for willow, but also of wilderness) consist of soprano, violin, cello and harpsichord, performing vocal and instrumental music in their concerts with creative explanations. They were awarded first prize as well as the audience award at the International Competition for Concert Explanation and Presentation in Frankfurt. They have performed at Resonanzen Festival in the Konzerthaus, Vienna and at the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music. They have been musical ambassadors for UNESCO City of Music, Hanover, Germany at the international Día de la Música in Seville, Spain.