by Biber -
'... a superb and sensitive performance ...'
A century after the death of Heinrich Biber in 1704, the great musicologist Charles Burney was among only a few to recognise the extraordinary legacy this inventive genius had left behind, though sadly what could no longer be heard was the virtuoso violinist. Indeed Biber's technical accomplishment as a prodigious performer is now recognised to have been at least the equal of eighteenth century performers like Vivaldi, Corelli and Lully, through to a comparable if not quite so extrovertly dramatic talent as Paganini.
Among his considerable output as a composer are operas and school dramas, sacred choral works that include two settings of the Requiem mass, many works for instrumental ensembles, several of which combine brass and drums with large bodies of strings -- almost all of which would have been unknown to Burney. What would have impressed him were the solo violin sonatas, many of which required 'scordatura', the altered tuning of the strings which would have provided the music with distinctive tone colour, rich sonorities and fascinating possibilities for multiple stopping over the strings.
In 1670 (at the age of twenty-six) Biber suddenly left his employment as a court musician in Moravia (apparently without permission) to become a member of the Kapelle in Salzburg, eventually becoming the deputy Kapellmeister to the Archbishop there...
Copyright © 19 September 2010
CD INFORMATION: BIBER: MENSA SONORA; BATTALIA