Biography[ edit ] A panorama of Salzburg c. Biber apparently enjoyed a good reputation, and his violin playing skills were very highly regarded. In summer Karl II sent Biber to Absam , near Innsbruck , to negotiate with the celebrated instrument maker Jacob Stainer for the purchase of new instruments for the Kapelle. It is not coincidental that most of the autograph compositions Biber sent to Kremsier date from the early s.

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Some of the sonatas have three movements, often with two slow, quasi-improvisatory movements surrounding a central "Aria" or piece in dance rhythm.

Some of the tunings are downright outlandish; as the music reaches its spiritual climax in the "Resurrection" sonata, Biber specifies that the violin be played with its two central strings crossed, perhaps to symbolize the meeting of heaven and earth.

A helpful short commentary by Andrew Manze included at the end of disc two explains the scordatura technique for those who would rather listen than read. Performing on a violin with sheep gut strings, he retunes the instrument for each sonata rather than playing on a set of pre-tuned instruments. This allows the listener to hear the radical changes in tone the violin undergoes as the levels of pressure on its strings are altered.

Manze puts it this way in his notes: "As it is pulled into different tunings, the violin undergoes experiences, some pleasant as in the Visitation and Coronation , some traumatic the Agony and Crowning with Thorns, for example.

Biber shifts mood rather than painting pictures, and the scordatura technique plays a primary role. There are a few problems with this recording. The break between the two discs is unfortunate; the "Crucifixion and Death of Jesus" sonata is orphaned at the beginning of disc two, and the listener, changing CDs, will miss the highly dramatic transition from the carrying of the cross to the crucifixion.

And the continuo accompaniment by Richard Egarr can be questioned. He shifts between organ and harpsichord, bringing out the more improvisatory flights of the violin nicely but creating some contrasts that Baroque audiences might or might not have found idiomatic.

Track Listing - Disc 1.


Biber: The Rosary Sonatas

In his sonatas for violin, Biber integrated new technical skills with new compositional expression and was himself able to accomplish techniques that no other known violinist could at his time Dann The Mystery Sonatas include very rapid passages, demanding double stops and an extended range, reaching positions on the violin that musicians had not yet been able to play Hill The original and only manuscript is stored in the Bavarian State Library in Munich. There is no title page, and the manuscript begins with a dedication to his employer, Archbishop Gandolph.


Mystery (Rosary) Sonatas (Biber, Heinrich Ignaz Franz von)



Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber


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