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Biber: Missa Christi Resurgentis / Manze, English Concert


Release Date: 09/09/2008 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 507397   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Heinrich Ignaz BiberJohann Heinrich Schmelzer
Performer:  Michael HarrisonMark BennettAndrew Manze
Conductor:  Andrew Manze
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English ConcertEnglish Concert Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 18 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The music on this disc is about sonority, about the brilliance of trumpets and strings in a live, reverberant acoustic such as that of Salzburg cathedral, for which at least some of these works were conceived. And Andrew Manze and his English Concert unequivocally deliver (albeit in the less-opulent confines of London's Temple Church), from the opening fanfare through the vibrant, tuneful, richly scored sonatas that periodically spice this thoughtfully organized program. The featured work is a Mass, the Missa Christi Resurgentis, likely written for Easter in 1764. It's a lavish celebration scored for two four-part choirs, an added bass singer, plus two instrumental ensembles, designed to be performed antiphonally in a grand display. Here, Read more Andrew Manze enhances the work with authentic touches, such as opening and closing trumpet fanfares and instrumental "sonatas" interspersed throughout. In fact, it's these instrumental pieces--including the four Sonatas at the end of the program--that really demonstrate the brilliance and beauty of Biber's compositional skill, his command of "sonority" and how to maximize its effect in a large acoustic space.

I'm not as wild about the choral writing, which too often relies on pat imitative devices--try the opening minutes of the Gloria, for instance--and formulaic rhythmic/harmonic schemes to advance or to illustrate the text--again, the Gloria provides ample evidence during its first six minutes. In addition, the voices, which use full vibrato technique throughout, tend to become lost in the texture when the orchestra joins them--and it's the scoring, not the recording that's responsible. Consequently in many of the tutti sections the singers seem to be trying to compensate by maintaining an aggressively loud dynamic (sections of the Sanctus, for example). However, there is an odd perspective regarding the two choirs--they appear too close, at least for my listening comfort, both to the microphones and to each other, especially if the intended effect is of antiphonal "dialogue".

Keeping with the style of the time and place, Manze inserts an instrumental Sonata (trumpet, two violins, two violas, and bass) following the Gloria, and it's a wonderful, uplifting, exciting seven minutes. Manze's violin is never far away (there are a couple of interesting violin duets in the Mass), and there are nice bits from trumpets and harpsichord. Sonatas also come after the Credo and Sanctus, and as mentioned, the disc closes with four more. They're all expertly scored, and the recording fully exploits the richness of tone and timbre of the brass and strings. While the Mass certainly is a magnificent work--and I'm sure it's most impressive if heard live--if you want to experience some fine instrumental music from one of the Baroque's great composers, don't let this one get away.

-- David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com [7/29/2005]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Duet for 2 Trumpets no 4 in C major by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  Michael Harrison (Trumpet), Mark Bennett (Trumpet)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1676; Bohemia 
Length: 1 Minutes 55 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Engineer: Chris Barrett.
Audio Producer: Robina G. Young. 
2.
Missa Christi resurgentis by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  Andrew Manze (Violin)
Conductor:  Andrew Manze
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert,  English Concert Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1674; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 32 Minutes 55 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Engineer: Chris Barrett.
Audio Producer: Robina G. Young.
This selection is sung in Greek and Latin. 
3.
Sonata à 6 by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  Andrew Manze (Violin), Mark Bennett (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Andrew Manze
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
Period: Baroque 
Written: 17th Century; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 7 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Engineer: Chris Barrett.
Audio Producer: Robina G. Young. 
4.
Sacro-profanus concentus musicus: Sonata no 12 à 8 by Johann Heinrich Schmelzer
Performer:  Andrew Manze (Violin)
Conductor:  Andrew Manze
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert,  English Concert Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1662; Austria 
Length: 4 Minutes 39 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Engineer: Chris Barrett.
Audio Producer: Robina G. Young. 
5.
Fidicinium sacroprofanum: Sonata no 11 in C minor by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  Andrew Manze (Violin)
Conductor:  Andrew Manze
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1683; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 6 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Engineer: Chris Barrett.
Audio Producer: Robina G. Young. 
6.
Duet for 2 Trumpets no 1 in C major by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  Michael Harrison (Trumpet), Mark Bennett (Trumpet), Andrew Manze (Violin)
Conductor:  Andrew Manze
Period: Baroque 
Written: 17th Century; Bohemia 
Length: 1 Minutes 31 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Engineer: Chris Barrett.
Audio Producer: Robina G. Young. 
7.
Fidicinium sacroprofanum: Sonata no 1 in B minor by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  Andrew Manze (Violin)
Conductor:  Andrew Manze
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1683; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 7 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Engineer: Chris Barrett.
Audio Producer: Robina G. Young. 
8.
Fidicinium sacroprofanum: Sonata no 5 in C Major by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  Andrew Manze (Violin)
Conductor:  Andrew Manze
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1683; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 3 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Engineer: Chris Barrett.
Audio Producer: Robina G. Young. 
9.
Fidicinium sacroprofanum: Sonata no 3 in D minor by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  Andrew Manze (Violin)
Conductor:  Andrew Manze
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1683; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 5 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Engineer: Chris Barrett.
Audio Producer: Robina G. Young. 
10.
Fidicinium sacroprofanum: Sonata no 7 in D major by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  Andrew Manze (Violin)
Conductor:  Andrew Manze
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1683; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 5 Minutes 44 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Engineer: Chris Barrett.
Audio Producer: Robina G. Young. 

Featured Sound Samples

Duet for 2 Trumpets no 4 (Biber)
Missa Christi resurgentis (Biber): Kyrie
Sonata a 6 (Biber)

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