Biber: Mystery Sonatas

Biber: Mystery Sonatas

by Julia Wedman

CD

$23.74 $24.99 Save 5% Current price is $23.74, Original price is $24.99. You Save 5%.
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Thursday, June 20

Overview

Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber's "Mystery Sonatas," composed in the 1670s and 1680s, have almost as many interpretations as there are violinists. They're sometimes known as the "Rosary Sonatas," for the "mysteries" involved are the so-called Mysteries of the Rosary, episodes from the life of Christ that furnish material for meditative prayers undertaken with the devotional aid of Rosary prayer beads. Engravings of these episodes appear in Biber's original presentation manuscript of these works (whose cover is missing), and Canadian violinist Julia Wedman, inspired by paintings of the Mysteries of the Rosary she saw in the Aula Academica in Salzburg, emphasizes the sonatas' programmatic detail in her readings. There's no firm evidence that Biber himself was inspired by these paintings, but the idea isn't implausible. Wedman makes two unusual choices in implementing her programmatic idea. The first she shares with Andrew Manze and a few other violinists: instead of switching off among violins as Biber's scordatura or retuning directions become progressively more bizarre, she continues to play the same violin, forcing it into contortions as it approaches Christ's crucifixion and other, well, crucial episodes. This is not the usual approach, but it is persuasive if only because violinists in Biber's time did not possess a rack full of instruments. Wedman's second procedure may be less justifiable historically: she enlists the continuo players in her attempt to make these sonatas into detailed representational works. The same logic that supports her single-violin approach puts the continuo in question: would Biber or other violinists presenting these piece have had the luxury of trading off among gamba, theorbo, archlute, organ, harpsichord, cello, and harp as Wedman's accompanists do here? It's not likely, and it takes the focus off the violin in true virtuoso works. Her realization is never unmusical, however, and it builds nicely to the Crucifixion and Resurrection movements. She has plenty of technical resources to bear on the Passacaglia "The Guardian Angel," which on this and several other recordings is deployed as a finale to the "Mystery Sonata" cycle. This is an unusually speculative set of "Mystery Sonatas," but one that will appeal to those who have come under the work's spell (if that word is permissible here). Notes, partly by Wedman herself, are in English only.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/22/2011
Label: Sono Luminus
UPC: 0053479212726
catalogNumber: 92127
Rank: 157219

Tracks

  1. Passacaglia (Mystery Sonata), for violin solo in G minor, C. 105
  2. Mystery Sonata, for violin & continuo No. 15 in C major ("The Coronation"), C. 104
  3. Mystery Sonata, for violin & continuo No. 14 in D major ("The Assumption"), C. 103
  4. Mystery Sonata, for violin & continuo No. 13 in D minor ("The Descent"), C. 102
  5. Mystery Sonata, for violin & continuo No. 12 in C major ("The Ascension"), C. 101
  6. Mystery Sonata, for violin & continuo No. 11 in G major ("The Resurrection"), C. 100
  7. Mystery Sonata, for violin & continuo No. 10 in G minor ("The Crucifixion"), C. 99
  8. Mystery Sonata, for violin & continuo No. 9 in A minor ("The Carrying of the Cross"), C. 98
  9. Mystery Sonata, for violin & continuo No. 8 in B flat major ("The Crowning with Thorns"), C. 97
  10. Mystery Sonata, for violin & continuo No. 7 in F major ("The Scourging"), C. 96
  11. Mystery Sonata, for violin & continuo No. 6 in C minor ("The Agony in the Garden"), C. 95
  12. Mystery Sonata, for violin & continuo No. 5 in A major ("Jesus in the Temple"), C. 94
  13. Mystery Sonata, for violin & continuo No. 4 in D minor ("The Presentation"), C. 93
  14. Mystery Sonata, for violin & continuo No. 3 in B minor ("The Nativity"), C. 92
  15. Mystery Sonata, for violin & continuo No. 2 in A major ("The Visitation"), C. 91
  16. Mystery Sonata, for violin & continuo No. 1 in D minor ("The Annunciation"), C. 90

Album Credits

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews