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Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber is quickly becoming my 2nd-favourite composer

  1. Jun 8, 2005 #1
    Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber is quickly becoming my 2nd-favourite composer ever

    check this guy out:

    i've got his violin sonatas played by both romanesca/manze & john holloway, harmonia artificiosa & mensa sonora both by musica antigua koln (aka MAK) & his missa salisburgensis & they're all awesome. some of the most emotional, passionate music i've ever heard. i've got his Sonatae Tam Aris Quam Aulis servientes on order; i read that if i like bach's brandenburg concertos (which i do) i'll like that stuff. i've got high expectations based on that recommendation & biber's other muisc. his mensa sonora is also some of the most achingly romantic (in the usual sense) music i've ever heard. every time i listen to the 2nd suite in f is like the end a spear driving into my chest.

    the harmonia artificiosa is 7 partitas for 2 violins, except i can't tell that there are two violins there, MAK is so good both violinists play so well together i can't tell them apart. that is, unless it's a bar or 2 where they do their own thing. i thought it was pretty amazing once i realised it's 2 violins playing perfectly in sync together.

    the violin sonatas might be the most well-known biber stuff because romanesca/manze made a legendary recording of them in the early 1990s. manze sounds like a baroque eddie van halen playing that stuff. john holloway's recording is more gentle; it sounds more like evening or sitting-in-the-bath-with-candles-all-around-while-rubbing-a-girl's-feet music

    see if your library or cd store has any of this guy's stuff, especially if you're into baroque-era music. (i know some people on the board like more recent crap though :tongue: )
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 8, 2005 #2


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    Beautiful review. I love strings, particularly violin and would like more romantic (soothing) music in my collection--I'm not sure what you mean by emotional and passionate.

    I like contemporary music too, but go through moods and phases. :smile:
  4. Jun 9, 2005 #3
    Your enthusiasm and the detailed descriptions, along with the various characterizations, have convinced me to keep an eye open for his stuff. It sounds like it will be well worth it.
  5. Jun 9, 2005 #4
    I've played some of his chamber music, I'd be lying if I didn't say it seemed plain wierd... out-of-place chromaticism and the like... but anyway I'll keep an eye out for these violin sonatas.
  6. Jun 9, 2005 #5
    Weird like maybe he was crazy, or weird like he was an experimentalist? (Not that the two couldn't go hand in hand.)
  7. Jun 9, 2005 #6
    not 'academic' & dry. usually when i think of bach it's something dry & not too happy or sad. i guess that's the bach stereotype but of course there are more than enough counterexamples to refute that. biber is generally the opposite, very expressive. they're either really happy or really sad, or both. (happy & sad at the same time like you're away from someone you love for a while)

    i started with the violin sonatas, then i branched out. the manze/romanesca recording also has the "sonata representativa" where the violinist is supposed to imitate various animal sounds. the part with the cuckoo is the most exciting 38 seconds i had heard in a while. the holloway recording has a couple unpublished sonatas also. holloway plays with both organ & harpsichord accompaniment which might be an unusual combo but has a good effect. the organ is just pad for the violin to play on top of, it doesn't get in the way. maybe that's what gives it its 'ethereal' quality, making it good nite-time music.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2005
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