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The Rosary Sonatas

of Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber (2ème partie)


Saturday, August 23rd at 22:30 - Arques-la-Bataille Church

 

 

Hélène Schmitt, violin
François Guerrier, organ & harpsichord
Massimo Moscardo, theorbe
Francisco Manalich, viola da gamba

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This second concert of the Rosary Sonatas is primarily devoted to the episodes following the death and Resurrection of Jesus. Their music displays an expressive dramaturgy, characteristic of the Austrian Baroque, at its peak with the Coronation of the Virgin. After this last sonata, a 16th pièce devoted to the Guardian Angel, closes the cycle, in the form of an extraordinary passacaglia for solo violin, which has no cause to be jealous of the chaconne that Bach would compose some forty years later.

Beyond their descriptive content, these sonatas also attest to what the violin was in the 17th century: a fascinating terrain for experimentation. Whereas each string of the instrument is, in principle, always tuned on the same note, Biber requires a different tuning for each sonata, a process called scordatura. Performance is, of course, thus made more difficult, but the essential thing lies above all in the change in colour of the instrument's sound, which was never served with as much spirit of invention by composers.

 

 

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