By Daniel Buckwalter

The Soreng Theater at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts became a Viennese art house on Nov. 13, with arias and art songs from the master composers of the Viennese period as well as a female composer from that era for whom much more should be known.

The result of the Sunday matinee was festive and spirited music from Eugene Vocal Arts, accompanied by the Eugene Concert Orchestra, marking the start of the Eugene Concert Choir’s 48th season with Viennese Salon in front of a strong and appreciative audience.

True, there was Tanner, a 15-year-old, one-eyed Dachshund mix who, the owner explained at intermission, is an emotional support dog and who slept through the entire concert. The rest of the audience, though, was treated to fun music with hints of sadness and dramatic singing as well as a four-hand piano piece played Nathalie Fortin and Brad Schultz, and a Scottish folk piece composed by Ludwig van Beethoven.

It was after intermission, however, that the star of the afternoon,  a piece so obscure that Diane Retallack, artistic director and conductor of Eugene Vocal Arts and the Eugene Concert Orchestra, noted that no one from either of the two ensembles had performed it before.

Dixit Dominus (Psalm 110) was composed by Viennese resident Marianna von Martines in 1774 when she was 30 years old.

Martines was known in Vienna and throughout Europe for her compositions, her singing voice and her keyboard skills. In later life, she and her sister also were known to host soirees at a home they inherited and which brought in the likes of Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, among others.

Sadly, although an active and an accomplished performer, Martines never sought an appointed position because it was seen in that period as unacceptable for a woman in her social class to seek such employment.

So much of her work has not been performed, and the tragedy of that — if Dixit Dominus is any example — is that a shadow has hidden the delicate grace that shows itself  particularly in the piece’s third movement (Tecum principium), sung expertly by Agnes Vojtko, the guest alto.

The fifth movement showcased Vojtko and the other guest soloists (soprano Arwen Myers, tenor Esteban Zúñiga Calderón and bass Doremus Scudder) in a beautiful sequence, followed by a flourish from the chorus in the end.

Again, Tanner the dog seemed unimpressed, but the rest of the audience showed its appreciation.

It was a solid start to another season of choral music by Eugene Vocal Arts and the Eugene Concert Orchestra.