Notes and Editorial Reviews
The music of Biber is widely assumed to have gone out of vogue with violinists before the middle of the eighteenth century. Biber's reputation, however, lived. In 1789 Charles Burney wrote in his "General History of Music", "of all the violin players of the last century, Biber seems to have been the best, and his solos are the most difficult and most fanciful of any music I have seen of the same period." Biber's Harmonia artificioso-ariosa (1696) is a collection in seven parts (partias), each employing a different tuning. Of the six partias heard on this recording (Nos. 1-6), five are for two violins and bass; and one is for violin, viola and bass. The “artifice” Biber refers to is a procedure now known as scordatura (mistuning). Each of
the pieces uses a different tuning in the upper parts. Only the Partia VI is written for violins in normal tuning. The performances on this disc are by the superb baroque ensemble, REBEL. Hailed by the New York Times as "sophisticated and beguiling" and praised by the Los Angeles Times for their " astonishingly vital music-making", the virtuosic New York based ensemble (pronounced re-BEL) has earned an impressive international reputation through their tours and recordings. Rebel can also be heard performing recorder concertos and sonatas of Vivaldi on their highly praised CD, "Shades of Red".
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