Sacro-Profanum: Instrumental Music by Biber, Rosenmuller, Fischer, & Meder

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Program: #05-13   Air Date: Mar 21, 2005

NOTE: All of the music on this program is from a live concert given at the Holland Festival of Early Music at Utrecht 2004 featuring the Ensemble 415 conducted by Chiara Banchini.

About the program, Ms. Banchini writes:

Even somebody like Paul Hindemith already considered Heinrich Ignaz von Biber the most important trailblazer for Bach. Whether he was right or not, Biber did play an essential role in the development of the violin. While in the service of Maximilian Gandolph, Biber acquired an enviable position: he was the star of the already famous orchestra of the Salzburg court, he gained international fame with his virtuosic violin playing and also he made a decent living with his income as maestro di capella and world famous composer. Biber expressed his gratitude to the Prince-Archbishop by dedicating many pieces to him, including the collections Fidicinium Sacro-profanum, Sonatae tam aris quam aulis servientis and Mensa sonora. All his life Biber, or Von Biber as he was called after he had been ennobled, remained somewhat rebellious in his music. The church authorities had forbidden dance music in the churches in Salzburg. In his Fidicinium Sacro-profanum Biber hid the sarabandes and gigues behind the structure of Italian sonatas with discreet titles such as ‘Allegro’, ‘Alle breve’ and ‘Adagio’. The Sonatae tam aris quam aulis (‘for the altar and the table) mirror Maximilian Gandolph’s double role as worldly and ecclesiastical leader. In his foreword Biber links the musical interaction to the government of the country, of which the Prince-Archbishop naturally was the head. In this music Biber created a particularly successful synthesis of virtuosity, strong composition and original musical ideas. All the elements reach equally great heights. Compared to the other to collections on this programme Mensa sonora is a little less pompous and complex. As the title suggests this is purely entertaining table music. The virtuoso has to step back for the benefit of the respect Biber had for his patron.

Broadcast of this program is made possible with the generous support of RNW, Radio Netherlands World Service.

1. Johann Rosenmüller 1619-1684
Sonata IX a5 in D major

2. Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber 1644 - 1704
Mensa sonora pars III in a minor

3. Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber 1644 - 1704
Sonata XI in A major
(fr: Sonatae quam aris tam aulis servientes)

4. Johann Rosenmüller
Sonata II for 2 violins in e minor

5. Johann Fischer 1646 – 1717
Choral a5 ‘Hertzlich tut mich verlangen’

6. Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber
Baletti Lamentabili a4

7. Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber
Sonata IV a5 in g minor
Alla Breve

(from: Fidicinium Sacro-Profanum)

8. Charles Valentin Meder 1649-1719
Sonata di Battaglia a 5 in C major

Composer Info

Johann Rosenmüller 1619-1684, Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber 1644 - 1704, Johann Fischer 1646 – 1717, Charles Valentin Meder 1649-1719

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