Biber's Rosary Sonatas are considered the most extensive example of scordatura — a technique whereby the strings are purposefully tuned differently from their usual arrangement. In these works, the violin's usual G-D-A-E tuning is only used for the opening sonata and the closing Passacaglia. The other fourteen sonatas each have a different configuration of tuning. Compositionally, this allowed Biber to obtain unusual chords, opening up a whole new spectrum of harmonic and textural possibilities. This fundamentally altered what a violin was and could be; its physicality as well as its voice was transformed. On this recording, the incomparable Rachel Podger reveals all the mysteries and glories of these amazing works.
Not for nothing is Podger regarded today as queen of the baroque violin. Podger makes light of the virtuosic demands of this profound music, while never losing sight of it’s religious significance.
– Sunday Times (London)
For this recording Podger uses the same instrument throughout, putting it through the pain, as part of the fascination for her was how the sound changed from piece to piece as the violin suffers alongside Christ. It’s searching, absorbing, quietly captivating playing, and a moving journey through one of the most imaginative sets of violin sonatas ever composed.
– CD Review
These are fantastically complex works, with different violin tunings and multiple stoppings, so that Podger’s accomplished new recording sounds like a battery of many violins. Fine continuo adds to the variety of sound.
Mystery Sonatas (15) for Violin and Basso Continuoby Heinrich Ignaz Biber Performer:
Jonathan Manson (Bass Viola Da Gamba),
Rachel Podger (Violin),
Marcin Swiatkiewicz (Keyboard),
David Miller (Lute)
Period: Baroque Written: circa 1676; Salzburg, Austria
Average Customer Review: ( 2 Customer Reviews )
Best of the BestFebruary 23, 2016By William F Stewart (El Cerrito, CA)See All My Reviews"I am very familiar with these sonatas, having grown to love them over the last 5 years or so since hearing the last one, the Passacaglia, played 3 times in one weekend. They are immensely draining to perform, impossible in concert with just one violin, and almost impossible for just one violinist. I am very familiar with at least four recordings, all top-notch in their own way, but this one really seems to capture the spirit, fire, mystery... the whole range of emotional expression in music... better than any of them. Ms. Podger's Vivaldi recordings and live performances are just as astonishing."Report Abuse
A Perfect Winter Sunday MorningFebruary 19, 2016By Edward Zelmanski (Canton, MI)See All My Reviews"I shared a snippet of a sonata with a colleague who offered comments regarding the tone of the work, muted vibratto of the strings... He is a classically trained violinist and I respect his perspective and expertise. I am not a trained musician. But I must say that I played the sonatas on a recent Sunday morning and was transported by the warmth and beauty of the performance. Perfect music, perfect morning and a perfect brunch."Report Abuse