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Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber: Rosary Sonatas / Rachel Podger, violin with Marcin Swiatkiewicz, Jonathan Manson & David Miller

Album Summary

>Biber, Heinrich Ignaz : Mystery Sonatas (16), for violin & basso continuo (or solo violin), C. 90-105
Performers Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Biber's Rosary Sonatas are considered the most extensive example of scordatura - a technique whereby the strings are purposefully tuned differently from their usual arrangement. In these works, the violin's usual G-D-A-E tuning is only used for the opening sonata and the closing Passacaglia. The other fourteen sonatas each have a different configuration of tuning. Compositionally, this allowed Biber to obtain unusual chords, opening up a whole new spectrum of harmonic and textural possibilities. This fundamentally altered what a violin was and could be; its physicality as well as its voice was transformed. On this recording, the incomparable Rachel Podger reveals all the mysteries and glories of these amazing works.

Sunday Times, 18th October 2015
Not for nothing is Podger regarded today as queen of the baroque violin...Podger makes light of the virtuosic demands of this profound music, while never losing sight of it's religious significance.

CD Review, 17th October 2015
It stretches the instrument and the violinist to the limit. For this recording Rachel Podger uses the same instrument throughout, putting it through the pain, as part of the fascination for her was how the sound changed from piece to piece as the violin suffer alongside Christ... It's searching, absorbing, quietly captivating playing and a moving journey through one of the most imaginative sets of violin sonatas ever composed.

The Observer, 18th October 2015
They are fantastically complex works, with different violin tunings and multiple stoppings, so that Rachel Podger's accomplished new recording sounds like a battery of many violins. Fine continuo adds to the variety of sound.

American Record Guide, May/June 2016
It is therefore spiritually refreshing to listen to a performance that demands my respect as a reviewer both because of the quality of the recording and for the respect it gives to the music. Rachel Podger's high reputation as a baroque violinist is well known, and this 28th recording of the complete Biber Partitas is worthy of serious consideration. The booklet essay is informative. I know I will return again to this recording.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Church of St. Jude on the Hill, Hampstead, London, Engl (01/2015).


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Works Details

>Biber, Heinrich Ignaz : Mystery Sonatas (16), for violin & basso continuo (or solo violin), C. 90-105
  • Performers: David Miller (Archlute); Rachel Podger (Violin); Marcin Swiatkiewicz (Organ)
  • Notes: Composition written: 1676.
  • Running Time: 6 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1676