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Gunar Letzbor|Biber: Violin Sonatas (1681)

Biber: Violin Sonatas (1681)

Ars Antiqua Austria, Gunar Letzbor

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Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber wrote violin music in an experimental style he shared with a few other German and Austrian composers of the late 17th century, oriented toward dramatic surprises, striking effects, and unusual pictorial devices rather than toward sheer difficulty. Quasi-contrapuntal passages and multiple-stopping of the violin are comparatively rare, but rapid runs ending unexpectedly on the seventh scale degree or some other unstable location are common in the 1681 set of sonatas recorded here. The eight individual sonatas in the set consist of dances, variations, and untitled movements with as many as eight short sections in contrasting tempos; it is in these that violinist Gunar Letzbor gets to show his technical chops, using a copy of a period violin. Hearing these pieces back to back, certainly not how they were intended to be performed, is of more interest to Biber enthusiasts than to the general listener, but the best is saved for last: the eighth sonata has an ingeniously written "trio sonata" texture with two violin parts that are playable by a single violinist. Better still is the Sonata "Representativa," with the varying continuo instruments of Ars Antiqua Austria deployed to produce entertaining depictions of a hen, a frog, a cat, a nightingale, and so forth. In its way this is as daring as Biber's Rosary Sonatas, which remains better known than any of the music on this album. Letzbor's performances were originally issued in 1994, which still didn't join an abundance of recordings of this music, making a sensible place to go for those initially attracted to Biber by the Rosary Sonatas.
© TiVo

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Biber: Violin Sonatas (1681)

Gunar Letzbor

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1
I. —
00:01:48

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

2
II. Presto
00:02:18

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

3
III. Variatio
00:05:51

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

4
IV. Finale - Presto
00:01:19

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

5
I. —
00:00:48

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

6
II. Aria - Variatio
00:06:08

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

7
III. Finale
00:01:08

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

8
I. Adagio - Presto
00:02:03

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

9
II. Aria
00:02:31

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

10
III. Presto - Adagio
00:02:48

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

11
IV. Variatio
00:04:45

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

12
I. Presto
00:02:03

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

13
II. Gigue (2 Double) - Adagio
00:02:21

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

14
III. Adagio - Adagio
00:02:30

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

15
IV. Aria - Variatio 1-2-3-4 - Finale - Presto
00:04:24

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

16
I. —
00:02:15

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

17
II. Variatio
00:05:28

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

18
III. Aria e Variatio
00:02:32

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

DISC 2

1
I. —
00:01:10

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

2
II. Passacaglia
00:05:04

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

3
III. Adagio
00:01:29

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

4
IV. Gavotte
00:02:06

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

5
V. Adagio - Allegro - Adagio
00:02:53

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

6
I. —
00:02:15

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

7
II. (Sonata) Aria
00:03:43

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

8
III. Adagio
00:01:37

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

9
IV. Ciacona
00:04:16

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

10
I. Sonata - Allegro
00:03:04

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

11
II. Aria
00:02:36

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

12
III. Sarabanda
00:01:40

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

13
IV. Allegro - Allegro
00:02:27

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

14
I. Allegro
00:02:16

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

15
II. Die Nachtigall (The Nightingale)
00:01:40

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

16
III. Cucu
00:00:44

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

17
IV. Der Frosch (The Frog)
00:00:50

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

18
V. Adagio
00:01:22

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

19
VI. Adagio: Die Wachtel (The Quail)
00:01:00

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

20
VII. Die Katz (The Cat)
00:01:05

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

21
VIII. Musketier - Marsch (March of the Musketeers)
00:01:39

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

22
IX. Allemande
00:01:57

Gunar Letzbor, violin - Ars Antiqua Austria, Ensemble

Album Description

Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber wrote violin music in an experimental style he shared with a few other German and Austrian composers of the late 17th century, oriented toward dramatic surprises, striking effects, and unusual pictorial devices rather than toward sheer difficulty. Quasi-contrapuntal passages and multiple-stopping of the violin are comparatively rare, but rapid runs ending unexpectedly on the seventh scale degree or some other unstable location are common in the 1681 set of sonatas recorded here. The eight individual sonatas in the set consist of dances, variations, and untitled movements with as many as eight short sections in contrasting tempos; it is in these that violinist Gunar Letzbor gets to show his technical chops, using a copy of a period violin. Hearing these pieces back to back, certainly not how they were intended to be performed, is of more interest to Biber enthusiasts than to the general listener, but the best is saved for last: the eighth sonata has an ingeniously written "trio sonata" texture with two violin parts that are playable by a single violinist. Better still is the Sonata "Representativa," with the varying continuo instruments of Ars Antiqua Austria deployed to produce entertaining depictions of a hen, a frog, a cat, a nightingale, and so forth. In its way this is as daring as Biber's Rosary Sonatas, which remains better known than any of the music on this album. Letzbor's performances were originally issued in 1994, which still didn't join an abundance of recordings of this music, making a sensible place to go for those initially attracted to Biber by the Rosary Sonatas.
© TiVo

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