Combattimento Consort Amsterdam

Soldiers, Gypsies, Farmers and a Night Watchman

Price: € 12.95
Format: SACD
Label: Challenge Classics
UPC: 0608917213225
Catnr: SACC 72132
Release date: 12 August 2004
✓ in stock
€ 12.95
Challenge Classics
Catalogue number
SACC 72132
Release date
12 August 2004

About the album

Nearly all the pieces on this CD have an extra- musical programme. In other words, in each piece, a story is told, or a situation described. Whether humorous or serious, the pro- gramme always tells us something about the culture in which the music functioned. A pro- gramme can be deemed successful only in so far as the listener is actually familiar with the situation to which the music refers and under- stands it or finds it humorous. Programme music thus gives us a glimpse into the world of the seventeenth-centur y listener who heard the first performance and who was delightfully enter tained, smiled or was deeply moved.

The works presented on this CD were performed in more intimate, likely court, settings during evening concerts or were intended to mark the arrival of important guests. Biber himself played the violin in the orchestra or ensemble – the number of instruments per par t is unknown. Of par ticular interest is that Biber composed only one violin part, but wrote two or three viola parts. Consequently, the ensemble as a whole has a somewhat darker sound, allowing the violin to soar like a lark.

All the works on this CD show that, for his time, Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber, who was knighted in 1690, was practically an avant-garde composer. As none of his contemporaries did, he pushed the limits of string instruments. Moreover,he created quality musical entertainment both today (!) and in his own time.
Zeventiende-eeuwse avant-garde muziek met een verhaal
Dit album bevat instrumentale werken van Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (1644-1704), uitgevoerd door het Combattimento Consort onder leiding van Jan Willem de Vriend.

Bijna alle werken hebben een buitenmuzikaal programma, wat inhoudt dat elk stuk een situatie beschrijft of een verhaal vertelt. Een programma vertelt altijd iets over de cultuur waarin de muziek functioneerde. Een programma is namelijk alleen succesvol als de luisteraar bekend is met de situatie waarnaar de muziek verwijst. Deze programmamuziek laat dus de wereld van de zeventiende-eeuwse luisteraar zien, die de eerste uitvoering ervan heeft gehoord en erdoor geraakt werd.

De werken op dit album werden in een kleine kring uitgevoerd, waarschijnlijk aan het hof, tijdens avondconcerten of bij het bezoek van een belangrijke gast. Tijdens de uitvoering speelde Biber viool in het orkest of ensemble. Het is niet bekend hoeveel instrumenten er per partij gebruikt worden. Wat wel bekend is, is dat Biber altijd een vioolpartij schreef, tegenover twee of drie altvioolpartijen. Daardoor krijgt het ensemble een lagere klank, en stijgt de viool als een leeuwerik op.

Op 30 mei 1672 huwde hij met Maria Weiß uit Salzburg. In 1690 werd hij - na een wachttijd van 9 jaar - eindelijk door keizer Leopold I van het Heilige Roomse Rijk met de adelstitel "Biber von Bibern" onderscheiden.

De stukken op dit album tonen aan dat Biber voor zijn tijd een avant-garde componist was. In tegenstelling tot zijn tijdgenoten verlegde hij de grenzen van de strijkinstrumenten. Bovendien bracht hij toen, en brengt hij nu nog steeds (!), muzikaal entertainment van een hoge kwaliteit.


As of January 2014, Combattimento Consort Amsterdam will seize to exist. Founder and artistic leader Jan Willem de Vriend has decided to give full focus to his conducting activities. The other members of the ensemble have decided to continue under the name Combattimento. More information about them is to be found at

Founded in 1982 by violinist Jan Willem de Vriend, the Combattimento Consort Amsterdam developed into a close-knit ensemble specialising in music from 1600-1800.

The musicians' wish not to focus solely on the standard repertoire resulted in many interesting programmes featuring remarkable and little-known works, some of which were only available in manuscript. The performance of these compositions in conjunction with more familiar works proved to be refreshing and inspiring to listeners and performers alike.

Over the years the ensemble gave many memorable concerts and operatic performances including Handel’s Rodelinda, Alcina, also by Handel, and Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, in collaboration with De Nationale Reisopera.

In September 2002 the ensemble made its debut at the Early Music Holland Festival in Utrecht, giving two performances of Rameau's opera Platée in a co-production with Onafhankelijk Toneel and the Nationale Reisopera.

In addition to numerous concerts in the Netherlands, the Combattimento Consort also appeared in various European countries and in venues outside of Europe. Successful tours in the United States, Japan and South America have always been attracting attention in national and international media.
Concerts often had solo performances by members of the ensemble, but the Combattimento Consort also worked with great performers such as Barbara Bonney, Andreas Scholl and Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Thomas Zehetmair and Sabine Meyer as well as joining forces with Collegium Vocale Gent and other groups.

Several recordings have won the highest praise of the Dutch music magazine 'Luister'. Over the years, the ensemble made numerous CD recordings, including Handels La Resurrezione. Another recent production is Der Stein der Weisen. This opera had its premiere in the Wielki Theatre in Lodz (Poland; 2003), and after that it toured in The Netherlands and Flanders. In 2004 the Combattimento Consort toured through Central Europe and The Netherlands with Handel’s opera Agrippina, the largest cultural project within the Netherlands Presidency of the European Union.

Jan Willem de Vriend
Jan Willem de Vriend is the artistic director of Combattimento Consort Amsterdam and since 2006 the chief conductor and artistic director of the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra.

Combattimento Consort Amsterdam devotes itself to the music of about 1600 to 1830. Since its founding in 1982, it has performed virtually throughout the world as well as on many CDs, DVDs and television productions. For decades, Combattimento Consort Amsterdam has had its own concert series at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw in which many entirely unknown – and mostly unpublished – pieces are performed alongside more familiar works, such as the yearly Matthaus Passion and Weihnachtsoratorium by Bach. Their 25th anniversary in 2007 was celebrated with the impressive project of Bibers Missa Salisburgensis, for the very first time in the original version with 4 organs and as many choirs.

In addition to having served as concertmaster with various ensembles, De Vriend developed a career as a conductor with several orchestras both in The Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Italy Germany, Sweden, as well as China and Australia. Opera conducting has come to play a significant role. He has led Combattimento Consort Amsterdam in unknown operas by Gassmann, Rameau, Heinchen and Haydn, among others, as well as familiar operas by such composers as Monteverdi, Handel, Rossini and Mozart. For the opera houses of Lucern, Strasbourg, Barcelona and Enschede, he has conducted operas by Handel, Mozart, Verdi, Strauss and others.
He was invited by the Stanislavsky Theatre of Moscow to conduct an opera by Handel.

Since De Vriend was named chief conductor in 2006, the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra has become a notable phenomenon on the Netherlands’ musical scene. It has presented semi-scenic performances of works by Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss and Mendelssohn. There were premieres of works by Offenbach, Say and Mahler. And by substituting historical instruments in the brass section, it has developed its own distinctive sound in the 18th- and 19th-century repertoire. The orchestra performed music by Schumann at festivals in Spain and recorded Beethoven’s complete symphonies conducted by De Vriend. Its long Mahler tradition is being continued in recordings and tours.

De Vriend was awarded the Dutch Radio 4 Prize of the year 2012. The Radio 4 Prize is awarded to a musician (or ensemble or institution) who has distinguished himself in bringing classical music to a broad public.


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