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"

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.

Title: Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber - Marienvesper 1693 | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Ars Musici


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Dedication CD/LP/Track Review Dedication
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 21, 2017
Read Surface of Inscription CD/LP/Track Review Surface of Inscription
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 21, 2017
Read The Treasury Shows, Vol. 24 CD/LP/Track Review The Treasury Shows, Vol. 24
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 21, 2017
Read Aleka CD/LP/Track Review Aleka
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 21, 2017
Read Alto Gusto CD/LP/Track Review Alto Gusto
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 20, 2017
Read Flow CD/LP/Track Review Flow
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 20, 2017
Read "Better Left Unsung" CD/LP/Track Review Better Left Unsung
by Doug Collette
Published: December 10, 2016
Read "Dreamsville" CD/LP/Track Review Dreamsville
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath II" CD/LP/Track Review Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath II
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 16, 2017
Read "Is It Me...?" CD/LP/Track Review Is It Me...?
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "Deep Memory" CD/LP/Track Review Deep Memory
by John Sharpe
Published: December 22, 2016
Read "Samba Para a Vida" CD/LP/Track Review Samba Para a Vida
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 7, 2017

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!

Please support out sponsor