September 1, 2005 at 05:49 AM · I am listening to the new Biber CD of Missa Christi resurgentis, an Easter Mass with Andrew Manze and the English Concert. It is a great Baroque recording. You can order it at The Passacaglia is such a moving piece. Im going to start working on the other sonatas. Any Biber fans out there?

Replies (13)

September 1, 2005 at 10:04 PM · Maybe I am more outside the box than I thought...

September 1, 2005 at 11:54 PM · I agree it's really good stuff Johnathan.

I play the passacaglia quite a bit.

As far as I know that's his only unaccompanied piece. He wrote many sonatas which are lots of fun--often kind of strange and extravagant. They're not played in recitals, probably because you need a good harpsicord player who can realize a figured bass part & improvise.

Some modern editions have the figured bass line written out as chords but it's almost always pretty dry and boring.

September 2, 2005 at 02:44 PM · For Jonathan & any other Biberphiles, you can get the sheet music for Biber’s Rosenkrantz (Mystery) Sonatas free at the GMD Music Archive:

September 2, 2005 at 03:39 PM · Yes, there's a plethora of sheet music at the Icking site. Good to know there are a few others 'outside of the box'. Also, there are at least 3 Biber CDs available at Grus Gott.

September 5, 2005 at 10:05 PM · Careful, its like heroin....

September 6, 2005 at 12:47 AM · Probably sounds better with a Baroque bow !

I wish I had one !

September 6, 2005 at 06:13 PM · Biber rocks!!! I played the Passacaglia with a baroque bow and gut strings for my Masters recital and auditions. Give it a try if you can find the resources... it's exquisite!

'Erie (-:

September 6, 2005 at 11:25 PM · You know a good string for about $22 are the Pirastro Tonicas. Pirastro has gut strings too. I dont even get a commission.

September 7, 2005 at 01:08 AM · I Like Biber's battalia.

I think he was way ahead of his time.

September 7, 2005 at 02:27 AM · Au contraire, Brian , I dont think they are squeaky.

Battalia? You mean Passacaglia or is that another piece Phil?

September 7, 2005 at 10:41 PM · On my baroque violin, I have Oliv's for G and D and Kurschner's (which is a fairly good straight gut string) for A and E. They come double length and you'll have to tie the knot yourself. I'm sure that you'll love the new found resonance.


September 9, 2005 at 06:13 AM · Jonathan,

I'd never heard of passacaglia until I read this post. I don't think battalia and passacaglia are the same piece (but I could be wrong).

The piece(s) I am referring to is often called "Battalia a 10". It was actually the first piece I ever heard at a concert (Done by Il giordano armonico - top stuff!!). Some parts use col legno. One of the movements is atonal, and it still sounds very baroque.

I do hope this piece and passacaglia are not the same. That means there's another good Biber piece for me to check out :))

September 10, 2005 at 01:08 PM · The Biber Violin Sonatas are great, and Andrew Manze has a wonderful recording of them with Romanesca. He's (Biber) got some very strange, almost futuristic, things going on--it was a real ear-opener for me, and so I've been on a Biber kick for the last couple of months. Manze also has a good recording of the Rosary Sonatas.

My source for period gut strings is Gamut Strings--that's if you want completely bare gut, as would have been used in Biber's time. Here's the type of violin that would have been used for this music: 1620 Brothers Amati violin copy. Note the really fat gut G!

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