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.
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.
In all my years of exploring and enjoying classical music I had never come across Biber or his music - thankfully this situation has now been rectified! This exciting double CD has inspired me to acquaint myself with as much of his work as I can find - definitely addictive!
How have I missed this great music before this CD came through my letter box I don't know. I heard the end of Passagalia by Biber on the radio and thought that it was good, but now I have heard the rest of this CD I can't understand why Biber is not played more. This is real soul music. I can't stop playing this CD and I can't wait until the other Biber CD's come that I have just ordered. Great music!