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Biber: Mysterien Sonaten / Pierot, Les Veilleurs De Nuit


Release Date: 07/20/2004 
Label:  Alpha Productions   Catalog #: 38   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  Alice PiérotÉlisabeth GeigerMarianne MullerPascal Monteilhet
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Veilleurs de Nuit
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 0 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



BIBER Mystery Sonatas Alice Piérot (vn); dir; Les Vielleurs de Nuit (period instruments) ALPHA 38 (2 CDs: 119:44)


In this re-release of a 2004 CD, Les Vielleurs de Nuit (Alice Piérot, violin; Marianne Muller, viola da gamba; Pascal Monteilhet, theorbo; and Elisabeth Geiger, claviorganum) took a free-spirited and poetic view of Biber’s Mystery or Rosary Read more Sonatas , a strong contrast with Andrew Manze’s intensely spiritual one (Harmonia Mundi 907 321, 28:6); John Holloway’s tartly virtuosic one (Virgin Classics Veritas 59551, 14:6); Eduard Melkus’s strikingly dramatic one (Musical Heritage Society 524671, 22:4); and Monica Huggett’s earthier one (Gaudeamus 350 and 351, 28:3 and 28:6). Their continuo group, while small and fairly constant (Melkus’s ensemble varied in size and timbre to suit the dramatic situation), offers, in the claviorganum, a sort of built-in variety that other ensembles can achieve only by the use of organ and harpsichord. Its timbre, as in the “Crown of Thorns” Sonata (VIII) by itself offers dramatic commentary, the novelty of which may be especially convincing to those unfamiliar with the instrument.


Piérot introduces a wide variety of free tempos into the opening of the “Annunciation” Sonata (I); and although she maintains a steadier pace in the sonatas to come, her freedom here serves as a stylistic calling card for the entire cycle. In general, she produces a straightforward, unmannered, though somewhat nasal sound from her violin (or violins—not mentioning the makers, the booklet doesn’t even specify how many violins she’s employed for the cycle—usually the scordatura requires at least three—nor how long it took to make the recordings, which might provide a clue). Of her virtuosity, there can be no question: the flurries of rapid notes in the “Presentation” Sonata (IV) feature exceptionally clean articulation, and the rapid double-stopping in the “Finding” Sonata (V) sounds appropriately sonorous and virtuosic.


Pierre Pascal’s notes take an even weaker line than do many others concerning the Sonatas’ programmatic content: not only does he suggest, as has become common, that they probably don’t illustrate the Mysteries in any specific way, he suggests that the possibility that Biber may have adapted earlier compositions to his purposes shows how “anachronistic” our ideas of the Sonatas’ programs have become. Nevertheless, as in Melkus’s set, Piérot has clearly—and dramatically—marked the transition from the Joyful to the Sorrowful Mysteries. Of course, the appearance of dance movements (such as the Allemanda and Sarabanda in the “Scourging” Sonata, VII) may seem to diminish the intensity of the story line’s most agonizing episodes. The freedom so marked at the beginning of the “Annunciation” Sonata returns in the opening movement (marked Sonata) of the “Carrying of the Cross” Sonata (IX), though the succeeding Courente and Doubles return to dance-like regularity. The briskness of her opening passages in the “Crucifixion” Sonata (X) reinforces the effect, whether or not it’s pictorial; in the variations on its aria, Piérot explores a captivating expressive range, from the comfortingly lyrical to the disturbingly agitated.


In the opening of the “Resurrection” Sonata (XI), the work in which the violin’s two center strings cross over, Piérot once again takes a relaxed view of the printed metric structure; she adopts a stricter view of the hymn tune, with its eventual appearance in the octaves the scordatura facilitates. She begins the “Ascension” Sonata (XII) at a heart-quickening tempo, which introduces special urgency into the ensuing march, with its hunting-call motives. Piérot also begins the “Assumption” Sonata (XIV) with a highly personal, quasi-improvisational account of the Praeludium, and so expands the expressive envelope in her reading of the succeeding Ciacona as to elevate that movement more nearly to the level of Bach’s later masterpiece than even her performance of the “Guardian Angel” Passacaglia (XVI) approaches, at least if realization of expressive possibilities, hidden or otherwise, be taken as a criterion.


Throughout, gambist Marianne Muller converts the bass line into a frequent polyphonic dispute with the violin, increasing the intimacy of the dialogue while it clarifies its import. Listeners should make no mistake about it: the annotator who suggested that nobody before or after Biber has explored the violin’s capabilities so fully wasn’t far off the mark. Taking that suggestion to set a standard, Piérot’s performances approach the goal about as successfully as do the best of the others, including those by Manze, Huggett, Holloway, and, especially, Melkus. In fact, for those seeking a highly personal yet scholarly and disciplined account of the works, in clear and vibrant recorded sound, Piérot’s could be an attractive overall choice.


FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

1.
Mystery Sonatas (15) for Violin and Basso Continuo by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  Alice Piérot (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Veilleurs de Nuit
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1676; Salzburg, Austria 
2.
Mystery Sonatas (15) for Violin and Basso Continuo: no 1 in D minor, Annunciation by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  Élisabeth Geiger (Claviorgan), Marianne Muller (Viola da gamba), Alice Piérot (Violin),
Pascal Monteilhet (Theorbo)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Veilleurs de Nuit
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1676; Salzburg, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Bon Secours, Paris, France 
Length: 5 Minutes 18 Secs. 
3.
Mystery Sonatas (15) for Violin and Basso Continuo: no 2 in A major, Mary's Visit by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  Élisabeth Geiger (Claviorgan), Marianne Muller (Viola da gamba), Pascal Monteilhet (Theorbo),
Alice Piérot (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Veilleurs de Nuit
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1676; Salzburg, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Bon Secours, Paris, France 
Length: 4 Minutes 27 Secs. 
4.
Mystery Sonatas (15) for Violin and Basso Continuo: no 3 in B minor, The Nativity by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  Élisabeth Geiger (Claviorgan), Pascal Monteilhet (Theorbo), Marianne Muller (Viola da gamba),
Alice Piérot (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Veilleurs de Nuit
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1676; Salzburg, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Bon Secours, Paris, France 
Length: 6 Minutes 31 Secs. 
5.
Mystery Sonatas (15) for Violin and Basso Continuo: no 4 in D minor Presentation by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  Élisabeth Geiger (Claviorgan), Marianne Muller (Viola da gamba), Pascal Monteilhet (Theorbo),
Alice Piérot (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Veilleurs de Nuit
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1676; Salzburg, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Bon Secours, Paris, France 
Length: 7 Minutes 26 Secs. 
6.
Mystery Sonatas (15) for Violin and Basso Continuo: no 5 in A major, Child Jesus in the Temple by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  Marianne Muller (Viola da gamba), Élisabeth Geiger (Claviorgan), Pascal Monteilhet (Theorbo),
Alice Piérot (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Veilleurs de Nuit
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1676; Salzburg, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Bon Secours, Paris, France 
Length: 6 Minutes 22 Secs. 
7.
Mystery Sonatas (15) for Violin and Basso Continuo: no 6 in C minor, The Agony in the Garden by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  Pascal Monteilhet (Theorbo), Marianne Muller (Viola da gamba), Élisabeth Geiger (Claviorgan),
Alice Piérot (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Veilleurs de Nuit
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1676; Salzburg, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Bon Secours, Paris, France 
Length: 7 Minutes 14 Secs. 
8.
Mystery Sonatas (15) for Violin and Basso Continuo: no 7 in F major, The Scourging of Jesus by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  Pascal Monteilhet (Theorbo), Marianne Muller (Viola da gamba), Élisabeth Geiger (Claviorgan),
Alice Piérot (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Veilleurs de Nuit
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1676; Salzburg, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Bon Secours, Paris, France 
Length: 7 Minutes 16 Secs. 
9.
Mystery Sonatas (15) for Violin and Basso Continuo: no 8 in B flat major, The Crown of Thorns by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  Élisabeth Geiger (Claviorgan), Pascal Monteilhet (Theorbo), Alice Piérot (Violin),
Marianne Muller (Viola da gamba)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Veilleurs de Nuit
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1676; Salzburg, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Bon Secours, Paris, France 
Length: 6 Minutes 29 Secs. 
10.
Mystery Sonatas (15) for Violin and Basso Continuo: no 9 in A minor, Carrying the Cross by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  Pascal Monteilhet (Theorbo), Élisabeth Geiger (Claviorgan), Alice Piérot (Violin),
Marianne Muller (Viola da gamba)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Veilleurs de Nuit
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1676; Salzburg, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Bon Secours, Paris, France 
Length: 7 Minutes 57 Secs. 
11.
Mystery Sonatas (15) for Violin and Basso Continuo: no 10 in G minor, The Crucifixion by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  Élisabeth Geiger (Claviorgan), Alice Piérot (Violin), Pascal Monteilhet (Theorbo),
Marianne Muller (Viola da gamba)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Veilleurs de Nuit
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1676; Salzburg, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Bon Secours, Paris, France 
Length: 10 Minutes 7 Secs. 
12.
Mystery Sonatas (15) for Violin and Basso Continuo: no 11 in G major, Resurrection by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  Pascal Monteilhet (Theorbo), Élisabeth Geiger (Claviorgan), Alice Piérot (Violin),
Marianne Muller (Viola da gamba)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Veilleurs de Nuit
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1676; Salzburg, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Bon Secours, Paris, France 
Length: 7 Minutes 9 Secs. 
13.
Mystery Sonatas (15) for Violin and Basso Continuo: no 12 in C major, The Ascension by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  Marianne Muller (Viola da gamba), Alice Piérot (Violin), Élisabeth Geiger (Claviorgan),
Pascal Monteilhet (Theorbo)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Veilleurs de Nuit
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1676; Salzburg, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Bon Secours, Paris, France 
Length: 6 Minutes 47 Secs. 
14.
Mystery Sonatas (15) for Violin and Basso Continuo: no 13 in D minor, Holy Ghost by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  Pascal Monteilhet (Theorbo), Alice Piérot (Violin), Élisabeth Geiger (Claviorgan),
Marianne Muller (Viola da gamba)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Veilleurs de Nuit
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1676; Salzburg, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Bon Secours, Paris, France 
Length: 7 Minutes 9 Secs. 
15.
Mystery Sonatas (15) for Violin and Basso Continuo: no 14 in D major Assumption by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  Élisabeth Geiger (Claviorgan), Pascal Monteilhet (Theorbo), Alice Piérot (Violin),
Marianne Muller (Viola da gamba)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Veilleurs de Nuit
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1676; Salzburg, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Bon Secours, Paris, France 
Length: 8 Minutes 13 Secs. 
16.
Mystery Sonatas (15) for Violin and Basso Continuo: no 15 in C major, Crowning of the Virgin Mary by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  Pascal Monteilhet (Theorbo), Élisabeth Geiger (Claviorgan), Marianne Muller (Viola da gamba),
Alice Piérot (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Veilleurs de Nuit
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1676; Salzburg, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Bon Secours, Paris, France 
Length: 11 Minutes 48 Secs. 
17.
Passacaglia for Violin solo in G minor by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  Marianne Muller (Viola da gamba), Pascal Monteilhet (Theorbo), Élisabeth Geiger (Claviorgan),
Alice Piérot (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Veilleurs de Nuit
Period: Baroque 
Written: 17th Century; Bohemia 
Date of Recording: 06/2002 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Bon Secours, Paris, France 
Length: 8 Minutes 23 Secs. 

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