Biber - Imitatio | Mirare MIR302

Biber - Imitatio


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Label: Mirare

Cat No: MIR302

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Release Date: 5th February 2016



At the end of the Thirty Years War, the support of the Viennese Imperial Court allowed the emergence of an extraordinarily talented generation of musicians speaking with virtuosity, humour and depth. Schmelzer, Biber and Kerll were at the forefront.

For Carnival festivities, where music has pride of place, they regale us with earthy works that mimic the sounds of nature and everyday life. They also had to meet the taste of Emperor Leopold I, who particularly appreciated imitative counterpoint, and for whom they composed these sonatas which have the power to elevate the soul and spirit.


The best-known works here address topics previously treated by Janequin in the vocal sphere (respectively, Schmelzerís sonata depicting birdsong and Biberís portraying the progress of a battle). Biber arguably outdoes his rival in the means he deploys, including a Ďpreparedí bass viol, ĎBartÚkí pizzicato and a quasi-aleatoric section representing the hubbub of the drunken soldiery. ... it is to Biber that the lionís share of the disc is devoted, and no wonder: every work of his stages a coup de thť‚tre that prefigures musical styles that lay centuries in the future. (There is even a walk-on part for a bass who sings a little devotional hymn, then disappears.) And if that werenít enough, the aria before the battle is as beguiling a tune as one could wish for. Delightful.  Fabrice Fitch
Gramophone May 2016
Gramophone Editor's Choice

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