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BIBER: Mensa Sonora / Violin Sonata in A major

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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. As 'Gramophone' noted when reviewing 'Sonatae tam aris', 'the English group has special things to say about this music: a pure unadulterated pleasure in Biber's delicious creations'. In this new act of homage Jane Rogers joins the group in the performance of the six suites that make up 'Mensa sonora'.

Biber, whom Paul Hindemith described as one of the most important and original predecessors of Johann Sebastian Bach, is known today mostly for his solo violin music and in particular his cycle of extravagantly virtuoso 'Mystery' sonatas. However, as befits someone who was a 'Kapellmeister' of an important court as well as a virtuoso violinist, Biber did not confine himself to writing music for his own instrument. One of the most original composers of the second half of the seventeenth century, he wrote instrumental ensemble music of various types. 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. It was believed to harmonise body, mind, soul, and understanding. Biber dedicated this work to the Archbishop of Salzburg, calling it a 'noble jewel of harmony'.

The Purcell Quartet adheres to a 'minimalist' approach which draws the listener into the textual and rhetorical essence of the music in an intimate and immediate way. They have recorded exclusively for Chandos Records since 1987, having made forty discs of a huge range of music. The critical response has been consistently enthusiastic - 'Gramophone' wrote recently, 'I am drawn to the sheer beauty and intimacy of the ensemble playing here... A strongly recommended new release'. 'BBC Music Magazine wrote', 'The playing is infectiously uninhibited and technically immaculate - a programme of unqualified pleasure'.

Also available:

CHAN 0591: Sonatae tam aris
Item number CHAN 0748
Barcode 095115074824
Release date 12/01/2007
Category Baroque
Label Chandos Records
Media type CD
Number of units 1
Artists Mackintosh, Catherine
Richard, Boothby
Woolley, Robert
Composers Biber, Heinrich Ignaz Franz von
Orchestras Purcell Quartet
Disc: 1
Mensa sonora, seu Musica instrumentalis: Sonata No
1 I. Sonata: Grave - Allegro
2 II. Allemanda
3 III. Courante
4 IV. Sarabanda
5 V. Gavotte
6 VI. Gigue
7 VI. Sonatina: Allegro
8 I. Intrada
9 II. Balletto
10 III. Sarabanda
11 IV. Balletto
12 V. Sarabanda
13 VI. Balletto
14 I. Gagliarda: Allegro
15 II. Sarabanda
16 III. Aria
17 III. Ciacona
18 V. Sonatina
19 Sonata: Adagio - Presto - Adagio - Presto - Grave
20 Aria - 11 Variations - Aria
21 I. Sonata
22 II. Allemanda
23 III. Courante
24 IV. Balletto
25 V. Sarabanda
26 VI. Gigue: Presto
27 VII. Sonatina: Adagio
28 I. Intrada: Allegro
29 II. Balletto
30 III. Trezza
31 IV. Gigue
32 V. Gavotte: Alla breve
33 VI. Gigue
34 VII. Retirada
35 I. Sonata
36 II. Aria
37 III. Canario: Presto
38 IV. Amener
39 V. Trezza
40 VI. Ciacona
41 VII. Sonatina: Adagio - Presto
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