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Biber: Mensa sonora, Violin Sonata / The Purcell Quartet

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> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 1 in D major - I. Sonata: Grave - Allegro
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 1 in D major - II. Allemanda
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 1 in D major - III. Courante
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 1 in D major - IV. Sarabanda
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 1 in D major - V. Gavotte
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 1 in D major - VI. Gigue
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 1 in D major - VI. Sonatina: Allegro
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 2 in F major - I. Intrada
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 2 in F major - II. Balletto
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 2 in F major - III. Sarabanda
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 2 in F major - IV. Balletto
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 2 in F major - V. Sarabanda
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 2 in F major - VI. Balletto
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Partita No. 3 in A minor - I. Gagliarda: Allegro
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Partita No. 3 in A minor - II. Sarabanda
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Partita No. 3 in A minor - III. Aria
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Partita No. 3 in A minor - III. Ciacona
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Partita No. 3 in A minor - V. Sonatina
> Violin Sonata in A major, Chafe 147 - Sonata: Adagio - Presto - Adagio - Presto - Grave
> Violin Sonata in A major, Chafe 147 - Aria - 11 Variations - Aria
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 4 in B flat major - I. Sonata
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 4 in B flat major - II. Allemanda
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 4 in B flat major - III. Courante
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 4 in B flat major - IV. Balletto
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 4 in B flat major - V. Sarabanda
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 4 in B flat major - VI. Gigue: Presto
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 4 in B flat major - VII. Sonatina: Adagio
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 5 in E major - I. Intrada: Allegro
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 5 in E major - II. Balletto
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 5 in E major - III. Trezza
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 5 in E major - IV. Gigue
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 5 in E major - V. Gavotte: Alla breve
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 5 in E major - VI. Gigue
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 5 in E major - VII. Retirada
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 6 in G minor - I. Sonata
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 6 in G minor - II. Aria
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 6 in G minor - III. Canario: Presto
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 6 in G minor - IV. Amener
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 6 in G minor - V. Trezza
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 6 in G minor - VI. Ciacona
> Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No. 6 in G minor - VII. Sonatina: Adagio - Presto

Album Summary

>Biber, Heinrich Ignaz : Mensa Sonora seu Musica Instrumentalis, suites (6) for violin, 2 violas & continuo, C. 69-74
>Biber, Heinrich Ignaz : Sonata for solo violin in A major, C. 147 (B IV 22)
Performer Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Having recorded Biber's 'Harmonia artificiosa-ariosa', 'Sonatae tam aris quam aulis servientes', and the 'Fidicinium sacro-profanum' sonatas to deserved plaudits, The Purcell Quartet here adds Mensa sonora coupled with a Sonata in A major for violin, violone and harpsichord to its recorded catalogue. Biber was a Kapellmeister of an important court as well as a virtuoso violinist; he did not confine himself to writing music for his own instrument. The six suites of Mensa sonora are an example of the Austrian master's genius for variety and innovation. The concept behind the collection (music written as an accompaniment to aristocratic dining) was popular during the baroque period.

BBC Music Magazine
The playing is infectiously uninhibited and technically immaculate - a programme of unqualified pleasure.

BBC Music Magazine
The Purcell Quartet bring Biber's often highly sophisticated writing to life with grace and vigour.

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Mensa sonora, published in Salzburg in 1680, is scored for four-part strings and basso continuo. It consists of six suites of mainly very short dance movements and could be seen as the least substantial of Biber's instrumental collections. But the consistently high level of craftsmanship and imagination transforms what might have been purely functional music. We're continually delighted by Biber's contrapuntal dexterity, by the beautiful sonorities and by the way he introduces a deeper level of expression into the longer movements. There are moments, too, of startling originality - the pointillist treatment of the arpeggio motif at the start of Suite No 3, and the astonishing ending to the last suite, where the musical discourse is broken into smaller and smaller fragments.

The Purcell Quartet bring out these and many more facets of the music with playing that's always lively and sweetly tuned. The many decisions on tempo and character are well taken - even the more surprising ones, such as the very moderate, smooth first Gigue in Suite No 5, sound entirely convincing in context.

The Violin Sonata comes at the disc's midpoint; its broader canvas, with improvisatory passagework over static bass notes, a toccata-like episode in dotted rhythms and a substantial set of variations, makes an excellent contrast with Mensa sonora 's miniature movements. Catherine Mackintosh has this demanding music at her fingertips. Her manner avoids the extravagance of some Baroque violinists but she can be relied on to project the expressive, rhetorical character that's always present in Biber's figuration.

Strongly recommended.

Gramophone Magazine
I am drawn to the sheer beauty and intimacy of the ensemble playing here... A strongly recommended new release



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Works Details

>Biber, Heinrich Ignaz : Mensa Sonora seu Musica Instrumentalis, suites (6) for violin, 2 violas & continuo, C. 69-74
  • Performer: Jane Rogers (Viola)
  • Ensemble: Purcell Quartet
  • Notes: St Bartholemew's Church, Orford, Suffolk, England (10/01/2006-10/03/2006)
  • Running Time: 37 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1680

>Biber, Heinrich Ignaz : Sonata for solo violin in A major, C. 147 (B IV 22)
  • Performer: Jane Rogers (Viola)
  • Ensemble: Purcell Quartet
  • Notes: St Bartholemew's Church, Orford, Suffolk, England (10/01/2006-10/03/2006)
  • Running Time: 11 min. 53 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: after 1670

>Biber, Heinrich Ignaz : Mensa Sonora seu Musica Instrumentalis, suites (6) for violin, 2 violas & continuo, C. 69-74
  • Performer: Jane Rogers (Viola)
  • Ensemble: Purcell Quartet
  • Notes: St Bartholemew's Church, Orford, Suffolk, England (10/01/2006-10/03/2006)
  • Running Time: 37 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1680