21 Oct 2012

Heinrich Biber (1664-1704)

From Composer of the Week, 9:10 am on 21 October 2012
A portrait of the composer Heinrich Biber, engraved by Paulus Seel for Biber's Sonatae Violino solo (1681)

A portrait of the composer Heinrich Biber, engraved by Paulus Seel for Biber's Sonatae Violino solo (1681) Photo: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

 

Scordatura strings, col legno bowing and adding materials such as paper to string instruments to create a percussive effect are perhaps techniques you would associate with a more contemporary composer than Heinrich Biber.

Gregory Squire reminds us that composers have been asking players to use different playing techniques for centuries.

Biber amused himself and no doubt his audiences by depicting everything from raucous drunken soldiers to meowing cats in his music. But this is not meant to imply that Biber wasn't also a serious composer, who wrote masses, requiems and motets for the church. He tried his hand at all genres, also producing eighteen operas for the theatre.

Music Details:

BIBER: Allegro, from Battalia in D – Le Concert des Nations/ Jordi Savall (Alia Vox AV 9825)
BIBER: Presto, from Battalia in D – Le Concert des Nations/ Jordi Savall (Alia Vox AV 9825)
BIBER: La Pastorella - Cologne Musica Antiqua/ Reinhard Goebel (Archiv 429 230)
BIBER: Sonata Representiva - Cologne Musica Antiqua/ Reinhard Goebel (Archiv 423 701)
BIBER: Gloria, from Missa Salisburgensis - Gabrieli Consort & Players, Cologne Musica Antiqua/ Paul McCreesh (Archiv 471 632)
BIBER: Requiem in F minor – New London Consort/ Philip Pickett (L'oiseau-lyre 436 460)
BIBER: Agnus Dei, from Requim in A - Le Concert des Nations/ Jordi Savall (Alia Vox AV 9825)
BIBER: Resurrection Sonata excerpts – Gregory Squire (vln) (RNZ)
BIBER: The Resurrection, from The Mystery Sonatas – John Holloway (vln), Davitt Moroney (keyboards), Tragicomedia (Virgin 7 90838)
BIBER: The Nightwatchman – New London Consort/ Philip Pickett (L'oiseau-lyre 436 460)