<< -- 2 -- Ron Bierman A KINDER APPROACH
The term sonata had a fuzzy meaning during much of the Baroque
period, usually suggesting little more than that the piece was instrumental.
The twelve sonatas on this disk are diverse indeed. Biber's title indicates
they are both sacred and secular. Selections are played by six to twelve
musicians. The exact number is left to the performers since composers from
the era reduced publishing expenses by omitting unessential or doubled parts.
Fantasy is the most frequent form (or lack of form), but theme fragments
are often carried from one section to the next and we also hear contrapuntal
and variation techniques. Tempos and rhythms vary substantially within each
work, with no particular pattern from one sonata to the next.
The first sonata makes a rousing start. It's for twelve players including
timpani and two trumpets [listen -- track 1, 0:01-1:23].
The Parley of Instruments believes in authentic performance, but with an
approach kinder to the modern ear than many. String and brass sounds are
full and warm and without the sour sound of some original instrument performances.
About half of the sonatas include dance-like sections. This example also
suggests something of Biber's violin virtuosity [listen
-- track 11, 0:27 -- 1:19].
Copyright © 9 March 2003
Ron Bierman, San Diego, USA