439

Salzburger Bachchoir / Salzburger Barockensemble, Howard Arman: Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber - Marienvesper 1693

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Track review of "Dixit Dominus"

Salzburger Bachchoir / Salzburger Barockensemble, Howard Arman: Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber - Marienvesper 1693 Heinrich Biber (1644-1704) was a Bohemian fiddler with a serious Marian fixation (or at least his supporters had such a fixation). He is best known for a series of 16 violin sonatas, Mysterien Sonaten, Die Rosenkranz-Sonaten (Mystery Sonatas, Rosary Sonatas), dedicated to the Catholic Archbishop of Salzburg, that he composed between 1670 and 1676. Biber—a show-off predating meister-show-off Nicolo Paganini—originally composed these sonatas so devilishly that only he could perform them. Not so his sacred choral music. His Marian Vespers, while complex, are plainly sublime but rarely heard in favor of Claudio Monteverdi's earlier Vespro della Beata Vergine 1610 (Vespers for the Blessed Virgin, 1610; SV 206 and 206a). Biber's Vespers are uniquely fine, representing a pinnacle in Baroque choral composition.

The typical Vespers (Evening Prayer, Canonical Hours) include musical setting for selected Psalms, preceded by an Antiphon or a brief Gregorian chant. Psalm 109 (Latin Vulgate), "Dixit Dominus" ("The Lord Said") was a popular text for Vespers. Biber opened his Marian Vespers with the sweet Antiphon "Dom Esset Rex in accubito suo" followed by a forward thinking "Dixit Dominus." More Monteverdi than Bach, Biber's setting for soprano, alto, tenor and bass soloists possesses a majesty fit for the Mother of God: "The dew of thy birth is of the womb of the morning."

Originally released in 1986, The Salzburg Baroque Ensemble, under the baton of Howard Arman, produced a splendidly refined performance of these Vespers. Soprano Kym Amps and tenor Anton Rosner particularly stand out, with great warmth and comfort in their respective sonic ranges. Off the beaten path, Biber's Marienvesper is a grand and welcome surprise for this holiday season. It is worth thinking outside the Messiah classic box when looking for new music with which to celebrate the holidays.

Personnel: Salzburger Bachchoir / Salzburger Barockensemble; Howard Arman, conductor.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Ars Musici


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Pathways CD/LP/Track Review Pathways
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Landing CD/LP/Track Review Landing
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Words And Music CD/LP/Track Review Words And Music
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Faces CD/LP/Track Review Faces
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Nor Sea, nor Land, nor Salty Waves CD/LP/Track Review Nor Sea, nor Land, nor Salty Waves
by Duncan Heining
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Petite Afrique CD/LP/Track Review Petite Afrique
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 29, 2017
Read "Magic Peterson Sunshine" CD/LP/Track Review Magic Peterson Sunshine
by Tyran Grillo
Published: May 7, 2016
Read "The Frog, The Fish and The Whale" CD/LP/Track Review The Frog, The Fish and The Whale
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 24, 2016
Read "Dare to Be" CD/LP/Track Review Dare to Be
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: August 8, 2016
Read "Festen" CD/LP/Track Review Festen
by John Sharpe
Published: November 12, 2016
Read "Horizon Ahead" CD/LP/Track Review Horizon Ahead
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 17, 2016
Read "An Eclipse Of Images" CD/LP/Track Review An Eclipse Of Images
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 1, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!