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Biber: Violin Sonatas Import


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Audio CD, Import, November 1, 1994
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Andrew Manze is, in my opinion, one of the finest contemporary violinists, and his playing of this fiendishly brilliant and difficult music will simply amaze you. Biber was unquestionably the greatest violinist of the 17th century; his sonatas and other solo works were the most technically difficult. But they are also the most wonderful fun to listen to--the famous Sonata Representativa has the player imitating all manner of animal noises and other things. It's hilarious, gorgeous, and it's never been performed better. If this isn't quite simply the best record of Baroque violin music ever made, then I don't know what is. --David Hurwitz

Disc: 1
1. Sonata 1: Sonata 1 : I (Praeludium) Presto
2. Sonata 1: Sonata 1 : II Variatio - Finale
3. Sonata 2: Sonata 2 : (Praeludium) Aria e Variatio - Finale
4. Sonata 3: Sonata 3 : I (Praeludium) - Aria e Variatio
5. Sonata 3: Sonata 3 : II Variatio
6. Sonata 4: Sonata 4 : I (Sonata) - Gigue
7. Sonata 4: Sonata 4 : II Adagio - Aria e Variatio - Finale
8. Passacaglia For Solo Lute
9. I. Allegro
10. Sonata Representativa: II. Nachtigal (Nightingale)
See all 17 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Sonata V: (Praeludium)
2. Sonata V: Variatio/Presto
3. Sonata V: Aria e Variatio
4. Sonata VI: (Sonata) Passacagli
5. Sonata VI: Gavotte-(Finale)
6. Sonata VII: (Sonata) Aria
7. Sonata VII: Adagio-Ciacona
8. Sonata VIII: a Violino Solo: (Sonata) - Aria - Sarabanda
9. Sonata VIII: Allegro-(Gigue)
10. Sonata 'La Pastorella'
See all 11 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Performer: Andrew Manze, Nigel North, John Toll
  • Composer: Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber
  • Audio CD (November 1, 1994)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi
  • ASIN: B0000007EN
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #246,122 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 22, 1999
This won a Gramophone Award a couple years ago, at which point I had never heard of Andrew Manze. The praise was so lavish I was persuaded to buy. What I heard was so extravagantly talented that I wondered why I'd never heard of this violinist before.
Manze is every bit as much of an alchemist on the violin as is Perlman or any of the top-notch modern violinists you care to name. In boldness of tone and incisiveness, he reminds me of Salvatore Accardo, who did some impressive Vivaldi on the modern violin in the 70's. Manze adds to it a great sense of style and technique that blows you away. As mentioned by the Amazon.com reviewer, the Sonatas Representativas have some animal-imitative glissandi and other special effects that are pulled off with a playfulness and precision that are breathtaking.
I liked Reinhard Goebel's rendition of the Passacaglia (on Archiv, with the Mystery Sonatas) until I heard Manze. Manze plays it so well I can't listen to Goebel now.
This is certainly the best baroque violin playing I have ever heard.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "hcf" on February 7, 2000
I didn't think I'd ever be reviewing an instrumental recording. I lack an intuitive understanding of instrumental music, so, resources being limited, I usually limit my collection to vocal genres. But this recording was so wildly praised by critics (Gramophone award; BBC Music 50 best baroque recordings of all time, etc.), that I decided to give it a shot. I'm glad I did. The music is absolutely fascinating, and brilliantly performed. The inventive melodies, full of varied nuances, leave a constant impression of improvization - it is almost hard to believe that in fact every note is captured on the printed page. With the composer's virtuosity so vividly imprinted in the music, Andrew Manze is careful not to over-characterize these sonatas. Every response is calculated to match the mood of the material: from the mellifluous preludes, such as in Sonatas 2 & 3, to the deft recitatives, such as in Sonata 5, down to the whimsical animal effects in Sonata Representativa. Although Manze's violing playing definitely takes center stage, the other two musicians also need to be lauded for their wonderful contributions. I particularly enjoyed the Passacaglia for solo lute played by Nigel North. Interestingly, this lute piece improvizes on the melody that is also heard in Sonata 6 - and in both cases the melody is tantalizingly familiar. It is no secret that Biber didn't shy away from borrowing other people's music. If you figure out where this one comes from, please let me know.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J Koenigen on February 7, 2006
While some argue over Souther European/Italian style performance versus Northern/German performances, the truth is that we don't definitively know how music in this period was performed. None the less, Manze and Romanesca's performance of these sonatas, and in particular, the Sonata Representativa is engaging from beginning to end. Perhaps the best known recording of this sonata, other than this one, is the performance of Reinhard Goebel and the Musica Antiqua of Köln. Both performances are outstanding. A few key differences define them. Manze makes use of a diverse continuo: harpsichord, organ and archlute; while Goebel employs organ alone. The obvious acoustical differences also come into play; Musica Antiqua's studio-polished acoustics, versus the as-is stone chamber reverb of Romanesca's. The overall effect is that the Manze performance is brave and bold while the Goebel performance is more elegant and delicate. In the end, it is a matter of taste as to whether one prefers a particular style of performance over another. I own copies of both these recordings and would not claim one is better than the other. They are simply different.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By William A. Smith on January 28, 2003
Biber is the finest German composer between Schutz and Bach. In fact, since discovering Biber, I've found that Bach gets a little difficult to listen to. Among other things, Biber was one of the greatest--perhaps the greatest--violin virtuosi of the 17th century. (Charles Burney among others was of that opinion.) These sonatas are transcendant. I first heard about 10 seconds of the first track of this recording on NPR and immediately had to buy it.
Andrew Manze is probably the finest violinist in the world, and has the incredible good taste to specialize in 17th and 18th century music. Every one of his recordings (I have about 20) is wonderful.
This recording is a must.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By James Liu on February 6, 2001
If I can only take one Baroque recording to a deserted island, this would be it. My favorite track in this 2-CD set is track 2 on CD#1. I must have played this track for hundreds of times in my car during the past year and a half. I have never gotten tired of listening to it and doubt I ever will. I have another recording (a 1994 recording with violinist Marianne Ronez of Switzerland) of these Biber sonatas from Cavalli Records and it sounds no where as impressive as Romanesca's.
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and Manze, North and Toll provide performances to match. Jonathan Freedman-Attwood (reviewing for Gramophone) went so far as to put this CD "amongst the finest baroque chamber music to have appeared in recent years" and on playing it through I have to agree. This is a glorious bargain. As somebody here mentioned, the price might be "budget" but the presentation definitely isn't.

If you haven't tried Biber yet, don't be put off by descriptions like mine. There isn't any doubt that the music is Baroque, but it's nothing like Bach, Vivaldi or any other Baroque composer. If you find yourself taking to it, then do try another perhaps equally bizarre Baroque composer for the violin: Veracini. So far I have only his Sonate Accademiche in a three-disc set from the Locatelli Trio (violinist Elizabeth Wallfisch, 'cellist Richard Tunnicliffe and harpsichordist Malcolm Proud). Veracini clearly knew his own worth; he is reputed to have said, "There is only one God; there is only one Veracini". The Locatelli performances can be found at

http://www.amazon.com/Veracini-Sonate-accademiche-Francesco-Maria/dp/B000PMGSA4/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1325121952&sr=1-1

So far two reviewers have given it five stars.
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