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Biber: Fidicinium Sacroprofanum / Plantier, Les Plaisirs Du Parnasse


Release Date: 09/09/2008 
Label:  Zig Zag   Catalog #: 80701   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  David Plantier
Conductor:  David Plantier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les plaisirs du Parnasse
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



BIBER Fidicinum sacro-profanum David Plantier (vn); dir; Les Plaisirs du Parnasse (period instruments) ZIG-ZAG 800701 (71:47)


Biber’s Fidicinum sacro-profanum , David Plantier stresses in his notes, attempts a synthesis of sacred and profane, combining dances and contrapuntal rigor, if not artifice, under the umbrella of Biber’s musical personality. These 12 sonatas, written six in five parts (pairs of violins and violas) and six in four parts with a Read more prominent solo violin, suggest Purcell’s chunky vigor and exploratory fancy more distinctly than Corelli’s elegantly restrained and serenely logical Fortspinnung . The sonatas, falling into many sections each, last between almost 12 minutes (the First, in B Minor) and about three and a half minutes (the Fifth, in C Major and the Eighth, in B? Major). Listeners familiar with the Mystery Sonatas from the 1670s and the solo sonatas from 1681 may miss the flurries of 32nd notes that waft those works as on the wings of a bemused angel or the thick encrustation of double-stops that lend those solo works the German violin school’s characteristic weightiness—by turns introspective and fancy free. Instead, there’s a serious but never solemn procession of reflective chordal movements and jaunty dances, with a peppering of piquant fugal writing. Hardly in evidence, either, the solo sonatas’ almost Brownian motion, which has given way to palpable purposefulness in the melodic design. The various movements’ effect varies from imposing (the openings of the First in B-Minor—and the Sixth in A-Minor) to infectious (the similar passages in the Second Sonata in F Major, or the alla breve sections of the brief, three-movement Fourth Sonata in G Minor) in the first six sonatas. The balance changes in the Seventh, with a lighter texture predominating; but the variety is similar to that in the first six, with rhythmic vitality, as in the very brief Eighth—with Corelli-like, suddenly emerging violin solos—and a combination of Purcellian bustle and Corellian steely logic in the opening pages of the 10th, and introspective moments like the opening of the 11th Concerto in C Minor or the same Sonata’s later Adagio.


The Purcell Quartet (consisting primarily of violinists Catherine Mackintosh and Catherine Weiss, harpsichordist and organist Robert Woolley, and Richard Boothby playing violone, with various additional players) has recorded these sonatas on two CDs (Chandos 605), interspersing them with works like Nisi dominus, Laetatus sum , the Balletti lamentabili , the descriptive Serenada, “Nightwatchman’s Call,” and the Passacaglia for solo violin from the set of Mystery Sonatas . The ensemble plays at modern pitch and favors lighter, tangier textures and springily athletic good spirits that may appeal to some listeners more strongly than Les Plaisirs’ darker timbres and weightier, more leisurely declamation, though the Quartet’s argumentation hardly seems more cogent, if it equals it in gravity; others may feel that the Quartet’s performances skirt with relative giddiness and a slight shortchanging of the pieces’ substance. The decision will probably come down, in the end, to a relatively straightforward textural preference and the desirability of the extra compositions on Chandos’s program.


Les Plaisirs du Parnasse (an ensemble consisting of two violins, two violas, cello, violone, organ, and archlute) has tapped Biber’s ingenious combinations of sounds, as rich and diverse in its own way as Vivaldi’s. But rhythms assume an equal—and at times, even greater—significance. The detailed recorded sound possesses a winning depth and richness. Enthusiastically recommended to the ever-growing number of Biber’s admirers as well as to more general listeners.


FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

1. Fidicinium sacroprofanum: Sonata no 1 in B minor by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  David Plantier (Violin)
Conductor:  David Plantier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les plaisirs du Parnasse
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1683; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 11 Minutes 57 Secs. 
2. Fidicinium sacroprofanum: Sonata no 2 in F major by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  David Plantier (Violin)
Conductor:  David Plantier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les plaisirs du Parnasse
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1683; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 5 Minutes 48 Secs. 
3. Fidicinium sacroprofanum: Sonata no 3 in D minor by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  David Plantier (Violin)
Conductor:  David Plantier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les plaisirs du Parnasse
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1683; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 3 Minutes 49 Secs. 
4. Fidicinium sacroprofanum: Sonata no 4 in G minor by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  David Plantier (Violin)
Conductor:  David Plantier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les plaisirs du Parnasse
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1683; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 7 Minutes 10 Secs. 
5. Fidicinium sacroprofanum: Sonata no 5 in C Major by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  David Plantier (Violin)
Conductor:  David Plantier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les plaisirs du Parnasse
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1683; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 3 Minutes 33 Secs. 
6. Fidicinium sacroprofanum: Sonata no 6 in A minor by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  David Plantier (Violin)
Conductor:  David Plantier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les plaisirs du Parnasse
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1683; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 6 Minutes 53 Secs. 
7. Fidicinium sacroprofanum: Sonata no 7 in D major by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  David Plantier (Violin)
Conductor:  David Plantier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les plaisirs du Parnasse
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1683; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 4 Minutes 26 Secs. 
8. Fidicinium sacroprofanum: Sonata no 8 by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  David Plantier (Violin)
Conductor:  David Plantier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les plaisirs du Parnasse
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1683; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 3 Minutes 33 Secs. 
9. Fidicinium sacroprofanum: Sonata no 9 by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  David Plantier (Violin)
Conductor:  David Plantier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les plaisirs du Parnasse
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1683; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 7 Minutes 3 Secs. 
10. Fidicinium sacroprofanum: Sonata no 10 by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  David Plantier (Violin)
Conductor:  David Plantier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les plaisirs du Parnasse
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1683; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 5 Minutes 17 Secs. 
11. Fidicinium sacroprofanum: Sonata no 11 in C minor by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  David Plantier (Violin)
Conductor:  David Plantier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les plaisirs du Parnasse
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1683; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 6 Minutes 24 Secs. 
12. Fidicinium sacroprofanum: Sonata no 12 in A major by Heinrich Ignaz Biber
Performer:  David Plantier (Violin)
Conductor:  David Plantier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les plaisirs du Parnasse
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1683; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 5 Minutes 49 Secs. 

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