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Biber: The Mystery Sonatas /Holloway · Moroney · Tragicomedia CD

4.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Biber: The Mystery Sonatas /Holloway · Moroney · Tragicomedia
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  • Biber: Rosary Sonatas
Total price: £22.66
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Product details

  • Performer: Heather Headley, Andrew Lawrence-King, Davitt Moroney, John Holloway
  • Conductor: Stephen Stubbs
  • Audio CD (5 Aug. 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: CD
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B00005UNXG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 42,435 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I bought this disc after hearing some of the pieces played on a graduation recital four years ago. These sonatas are some of the most gorgeous music I have ever heard. It is a pity that these pieces are not played more often as they are extremely original and a pleasure to listen to again and again. Biber uses extensive scordatura (alternate string tuning) and radical changes in harmony for the time in which he was writing. Baroque music is lovely but it can sometimes sound too formulaic and rather unengaging after a while. Even though you hear the same bass line throughout the pieces, Biber has my attention the entire time.
Although it is not necessary to be familiar with the Mysteries to enjoy the music, a listen through with the liner notes will reveal another dimension to the work. The music representing Jesus as he hangs on the cross is violent and shocking even though the sonata is completely tonal. Truly brilliant writing.
The recording quality is impeccable as the microphone placement makes the performers sound like they are right beside you.
You'll not be disappointed with this purchase.
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Format: Audio CD
This has been the first Biber recording I've bought, but I doubt if it will be the last. I wasn't entirely sure of who he was, when he was, or what his status in the great musical scheme of things was. I did some exploration but I still hadn't heard any of his works until I placed this in my CD player. My only regret so far is that I hadn't taken the gamble earlier. Sometimes you just get a good feel about a chance purchase and this has lived up to my expectations. The music appears to have been written with strong Christian conviction and inspiration, but this shouldn't dissuade listeners from other religions (or atheists!) from enjoying these pieces. Here we have baroque music to stand with the finest. If you like Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, then take a leap if you haven't heard this music before. You won't be disappointed. Oh and I haven't mentioned the performances. Which perhaps says everything. They are crystal-clear recordings of fine musicians. They allow the music to come to you without artifice or mannerisms, and to convince you that this is how Biber himself might have imagined it. Excellent.
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Format: Audio CD
This works on many levels and is a superlative buy on every one of them. Biber's work for the violin is incredible - the beauty, complexity, uniqueness (he re-tuned the violin to get the range of sound he wanted) is captaviating and a joy. But then with this work he achieved something else. This is a musical representation of the life of Christ, and manages to both describe the episodes with sound, and feed the profound contemplation of the depth and meaning of what each means. If you are a believer this would be a transformational experience. But if like me you are not, it still carries an awe-inspiring impact and beauty. I can only compare it to, say, looking at the greatest paintings of the same subjects. The 'Annunciation' is almost scary in its brilliance: want to experience what it would be like to be in the room with an Angel? You can almost hear the words and hear the fluttering of wings. Take a look at Fra Angelico's paintings of the same scene and you'll get a feel for how this music can move you in the same way. The arrangement and backing instruments are spot on, the musicianship incredible, and the sound quality/production top-notch. I cannot rate this highly enough.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I recently overheard some teenage girls talking about having Biber fever, and having just listened to the Passacaglia played on Radio 3, I can fully understand their enthusiasm for this composer.

It is the most extraordinarily beautiful music that I have ever heard. Written over 330 years ago it has a passion and energy that must have shocked those who first heard it. I was overwhelmed, and genuinely had to sit back to try and make sense of it. For me, it really was that powerful.

This C.D. is the recording that I heard on the radio, and through my hi-fi it sounds even better. It is a glorious performance, and the technical quality of the sound recording is flawless. Close your eyes, and let John Holloway's playing send your head spinning.

If you too would like to catch Biber fever then buy this C.D. It might change your life.
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The reviews on here have caught the mood and individuality of these exceptional sonatas perfectly.

The recording is second to none: the playing - on exquisitely handled period instruments - is only a small footstep away from that of the angels, and all things considered, the Bohemian composer Jindrich Ignaz Biber has been served well by Mr Holloway and his fellows.

Great music is for all time, and this is great music indeed: often startling in its originality, and as relevant today as it must have been when it was written.

There are now many performances of the Mystery - or Rosary, or Rosenkranz Sonatas (call them what you will) but this one must surely rank among the very best. It is certainly the most moving.

Can one say more to recommend it ?

To anyone unfamiliar with Biber's considerable output, revel in these sonatas as an introduction, and then start exploring the catalogue. You won't regret it.
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