About the album
H.I.F. BIBER: a genius, whose life story is for the most part unresearched, a violin virtuoso who raised the technique of violin playing in Austria to an incredibly high level, a man of incredible powers of imagination and the courage to venture on abstraction. The complexity of his work is astonishing, his oeuvre encompasses a range from richly orchestrated church music, artfully elaborated chamber music, to virtuoso music for his personal solo instrument, the violin.
In his collection FIDICINIUM SACRO PROFANUM Biber set new standards also in the field of string chamber music. In the first part the master composes for five-part string ensemble: 2 violins, 2 violas, violone and basso continuo were established at his time as the standard ensemble in Austrian cultural circles. In a richly coloured, five-part setting, Biber artfully weaves a polyphonic texture that allows one or more parts to alternate and come
to the fore. In the second part of this colletion he dispenses with the five-part arrangement hitherto predominant in Austria. He compensates for the luxury of sound by augmenting the flexibility of the four individual parts.
Perhaps it is simply the humility and clear, alert ear of all the musicians in the ensemble in confrontation with the special qualities of Biber’s chamber music that convey to the audience the qualities of the master’s musical message!
11Fidicinium Sacro-Profanum Sonata I in B Minor
12Fidicinium Sacro-Profanum Sonata II in F Major
13Fidicinium Sacro-Profanum Sonata III in D Minor
14Fidicinium Sacro-Profanum Sonata IV in G Minor
15Fidicinium Sacro-Profanum Sonata V in C Major
16Fidicinium Sacro-Profanum Sonata VI in A Minor
17Fidicinium Sacro-Profanum Sonata VII in D Major
18Fidicinium Sacro-Profanum Sonata VIII in B Major
19Fidicinium Sacro-Profanum Sonata IX in G Major
110Fidicinium Sacro-Profanum Sonata X in E Major
111Fidicinium Sacro-Profanum Sonata XI in C Minor
112Fidicinium Sacro-Profanum Sonata XII in A Major
Ars Antiqua Austria played August 23rd on the opening concert on the Early Music Festival in Utrecht. Muffat’s only surviving mass In labore requies is a typical example of the large-scale vocal and instrumental multichoral composition popular in Salzburg at the time. Together with his ensemble Ars Antiqua Austria the violinist Gunar Letzbor is one of the main champions of Austrian Baroque repertoire, which has so far remained largely unexplored. ...