Biber's Fidicinum sacro-profanum … 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 … suggest Purcell's chunky vigor and exploratory fancy more distinctly than Corelli's elegantly restrained and serenely logical Fortspinnung. … Les Plaisirs du Parnasse … 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. (Robert Maxham, Fanfare, Jan/Feb 2009)
"…But, with his Fidicinium, Biber exploits the subject in a wholly innovative fashion, thanks to multiple musical and symbolic references, thereby asserting his status as one of the major figures of his era." - David Plantier
This is a gem of a CD. It's a well-chosen, well-performed and well-presented anthology of mid-Baroque German sacred cantatas. Bass Peter Kooij and the seven-person L'Armonia Sonora are directed by gambist Mieneke Van der Velden. They have a close and warm affinity not only with one another, but also for the music; it's music as varied as it's beautiful. Its rich, sustained sonorities will stay with you long after you have finished the uplifting experience of listening to the CD. Released on the enterprising Ramée label De profundis clamavi comprises seven sumptuous examples of the music written in the north German Länder in the period after the Thirty Years War. It's music which not so much 'reflects' that profound conflict, as is 'affected' by it – weighed down with detached regret and unselfconscious resignation.
Gustav Leonhardt was one of the most important harpsichord and organ players in the world and a very well-known specialist in baroque music. Gustav Leonhardt -The Edition is a 15-CD retrospective containing a representative selection of his numerous recordings, including famous solo recordings such as the legendary Goldberg Variations and Bach's organ and harpsichord works. 6 CDs feature collaborations with his famous colleagues Sigiswald Kuijken, Frans Bruggen and Anner Bylsma, the Leonhardt-Consort and Harry van der Kamp.
The Purcell Quartet appears to be recording all of Heinrich Biber's string chamber music and their flexible lineup – Jane Rogers joins on viola to fill out the fifth part here – certainly facilitates Biber's rather unique requirements. The main concentration of Purcell Quartet's attention to Biber was in the 1990s; between 1994 and 1997, it recorded, in quick succession, the Harmonia artificiosa ariosa, Sonatae tam aris quam Aulis servientes, and the Fidicunium Sacro-Profanum. With this recording of the Mensa sonora, the only string chamber works Biber left that the Purcell Quartet hasn't gotten to are mostly solo sonatas – the Mystery Sonatas, the sonatas of 1681, and a number of miscellaneous sonatas and occasional pieces, not all of which are squarely landed in the camp of Biber and all of which are smaller than they are.
In the beginning there was the shattered sky. A window – slammed shut. The glass – broken. The view outside – obscured. Inside: destruction. The end. While scenes like these evoke some terrible drama, they are part of our lives. They occur in our individual biographies as well as in the world as a whole. Everywhere. All the time. Guitarist / composer Friedemann Witecka found an impressive account of sky-shattering on a national scale while reading »Stasiland« by the Australian writer Anna Funder. In this book, published 2003, he discovered the phrase: »pieces of a shattered sky«. The collaps of his own sky occurred in 2010. It was the end which marked the beginning of a new album entitled »Echoes Of A Shattered Sky«.
Beyond Twang-Twang. At all his concerts since 1998 and on the CDs »Passion and Pride« and »Short Stories« Friedemann had always had his fabulous Franco-German ensemble at his side, with Philippe Geiss, saxophone, Emmanuel Séjourné, vibraphone and marimba, Markus Faller, drums and percussion; and Kurt Eisfeld on keyboards. The real proof of the quality and originality of this team was provided in 2005 with the live DVD »The Concert«. So it is quite astounding that none of the gentlemen appeared here. What happened? Was there a row? Was the ensemble disbanded? What does »le chef« – as the French-speaking members of the group nickname him – have to say about it?