Combattimento Consort Amsterdam

Sonatae tam aris quam aulis servien

Format: CD
Label: Challenge Classics
UPC: 0608917212921
Catnr: CC 72129
Release date: 01 January 1999
1 CD
Challenge Classics
Catalogue number
CC 72129
Release date
01 January 1999

About the album

Founded in 1982 by violinist Jan Willem de Vriend, the Combattimento Consort Amsterdam has developed into a close-knit ensemble specialising in music from 1600- 1800.The musicians' wish not to focus solely on the standard repertoire has resulted in many interesting programmes featuring remarkable and little-known works, some of which are only available in manuscript. The performance of these compositions in conjunction with more familiar works has proved to be refreshing and inspiring to listeners and performers alike. Heinrich Ignaz von Biber by-passed the ban on profane chamber music with his collection of twelve sonatas, Sonatae tam aris quam aulis servientes (1676), which means at the altar as well as at court the collection with such a title, the sonatas became more interesting from a commercial point of view.After all, the sonatas were serviceable for both secular and spiritual occasions, during Mass, but also as table music during dinners at the palace. Apart from being an outstanding violinist, Biber was also a great composer and a remarkable man. He instructed musicians to play with the back of their bow, composed atonal and minimal music, allowed players to change the tuning of the strings (scordatura) or stuffed paper in between them. Also, we owe the Bartzicato to Biber rather than Bart His Sonatae tam aris quam aulis servientes seem to bridge folk music and concert music, between French and Italian bowing techniques, between secular and spiritual music. As if two different worlds shake each other original music. It is therefore not surprising that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart made his son study the works of Biber. In this context perhaps the words of Paul Hindemith are most striking. He spoke of Biber characterising him as cable composer before Bach.
Alomvattende, soms hartverscheurende, en uiterst originele muziek
Dit album bevat 12 sonates van virtuoos violist en opmerkelijk componist Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber. Met veel schwung en passie uitgevoerd door het Combattimento Consort Amsterdam onder leiding van Jan Willem de Vriend.

Biber was niet alleen een geweldige violist en uitzonderlijke componist, hij was ook een slim mens. Met de titel van zijn bundel Sonatae tam aris quam aulis servientes (Sonates zowel voor het altaar als voor de tafel) omzeilde hij het verbod dat toentertijd gold op geestelijke kamermuziek. De sonates werden daarmee ook commercieel interessant. Ze waren immers bruikbaar bij de mis, maar mochten ook als tafelmuziek tijdens etentjes in het paleis uitgevoerd worden. Zijn sonates lijken een brug te slaan tussen volks- en kunstmuziek, tussen wereldlijke en geestelijke muziek, en tussen Franse en Italiaanse strijktechnieken. Het is alsof twee werelden elkaar een hand geven. Het is dus niet verwonderlijk dat Biber ‘de meest opmerkelijke componist vóór Bach’ wordt genoemd.

Veel is er niet bekend over Biber, geboren in 1644 in Wartenburg in het voormalige Bohemen. Behalve dan dat hij graag experimenteerde. Zijn muziek zou de eeuwen doorstaan en misstaat ook in onze tijd niet. Hij componeerde muziek zonder vaste toonsoort en minimale muziek. Biber liet musici met de achterkant van hun strijkstok spelen, liet spelers hun snaren anders stemmen of propte papier tussen de snaren. Zijn ongekende viooltechnieken verhoogden zijn sociale status. Van huismusicus voor de bisschop van Olmütz, violist, componist, dirigent en rentmeester bij de aartsbisschop van Salzburg, schopte hij het tot kapelmeester voor keizer Leopold I, die hem in de adelstand verhief met de titel 'Biber von Bibern'. Zijn composities bestonden vooral uit kerkmuziek, maar hij schreef ook 2 opera's. Hij overleed in 1704 op 59-jarige leeftijd in Salzburg.

Sinds de oprichting in 1982 door Jan Willem de Vriend heeft het Combattimento Consort Amsterdam zich onder zijn leiding ontwikkeld tot een hecht ensemble, dat gespecialiseerd is in muziek uit de barokperiode, weliswaar gespeeld op moderne instrumenten. De musici richten zich niet alleen op het standaardrepertoire, wat zorgt voor veel interessante programma’s. De concerten met een combinatie van bekende en minder bekende werken zijn voor de luisteraars, maar ook voor de uitvoerenden, verfrissend en inspirerend. Inmiddels is Jan Willem de Vriend gestopt met het ensemble en hebben de overige leden het ensemble in 2014 voortgezet onder de naam Combattimento.


Jan Willem de Vriend Conductor
Jan Willem de Vriend is the artistic director of Combattimento Consort Amsterdam and since 2006 the chief conductor and artistic director of the Dutch 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. In addition to having served as concertmaster with various ensembles, De Vriend developed a career as a conductor. 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.

Since De Vriend was named chief conductor in 2006, the Dutch 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. Recently, the orchestra performed music by Schumann at festivals in Spain. It is currently recording Beethoven’s complete symphonies conducted by De Vriend. Its long Mahler tradition is being continued in recordings and tours.

De Vriend has been a guest conductor with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, The Hague Philharmonic and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, as well as orchestras in Germany, Sweden and Australia. He is often invited to conduct both in the Netherlands and abroad. He has engagements pending, for example, with The Hague Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra as well as orchestras in China, Germany, Austria and Italy. He has also been invited by the Stanislavsky Theatre of Moscow to conduct an opera by Handel.

Combattimento Consort Amsterdam
Founded in 1982 by violinist Jan Willem de Vriend, the Combattimento Consort Amsterdam has developed into a close-knit ensemble specialising in music from 1600-1830.

The musicians’ wish not to focus solely on the standard repertoire has resulted in many interesting programmes featuring remarkable and little-known works, some of which are only available in manuscript. The performance of these compositions in conjunction with more familiar works has proved to be refreshing and inspiring to listeners and performers alike. Over the years the ensemble has given 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 has 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 have solo performances by members of the ensemble, but the Combattimento Consort has 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 has made numerous CD recordings, including Handels La Resurrezione. Mozarts Der Stein der Weisen 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. In 2007, on the occasion of their 25th anniversary they performed Bibers magnificent Missa Salisburgensis, for the very first time in the original version with four organs and no less than four choirs.


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