Other Sellers on Amazon
Biber: Unam Ceylum
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Top Customer Reviews
This recording is of some of the earlier Biber sonatas for solo violin, less well known than the Rosary Sonatas or his later collection, Fidicinium sacro-profanum. In addition to four published in 1681, two previously unpublished sonatas (Nos. 81 and 84) are included, and the last (band 6) on this recording is the only performance on record of No. 84 of which I am aware. It alone is worth the purchase of the album, even if one already has another recording of some of the other pieces on it.
"Baroque" is a characterisation of music of this period that damns with faint praise, being derived from a Spanish word for an imperfect pearl. It would be better to speak of the style - especially in Biber's case - as a musical version of mannerism. Biber combines, as did the mannerist painters, a highly formal character with exaggerations and violent contrasts, all delivered in what seems to be an effortless flow of song. The appearance of naturalness and ease in doing what is in fact dauntingly difficult was esteemed during this period as the paramount virtue of an artist - or of a gentleman. The Italians called it "sprezzatura." Biber has it, as did his fellow Salzburger, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (who knew and quoted Biber's work).
Listening to this music at one moment you may be reminded of a country fiddle tune, next of "Zigeunerweisen," and after that, all the pomp of a seventeenth-century court.Read more ›
Comparisons with Andrew Manze's Biber set are inevitable. Manze is another musician whom I like and respect, but with Holloway this music seems to acquire an extra dimension - a deeper emotional involvement, perhaps. To my knowledge, it has not been mentioned that some of the difference in feel between the two versions may be accounted for by the different pitch used in each recording (A=440 with Manze, a mellow A=415 with Holloway).
On a final note, there are probably a great many people wondering what "unam ceylum" means. It is a phrase that appears (in a slightly different form) in Biber's Latin dedication to his book of sonatas, and it means "one lyre".
A disagreement exists about the authenticity of Holloway's choice of continuo. He uses organ and harpsichord together. Musicologists might argue that organ and lute or archlute would be more historically justified. My ears, nevertheless, find the organ/harpsichord continuo very convincing, especially since the harpsichordist realizes his part at times in marvelously tasteful imitation of an archlute.
Once you hear any of Biber's virtuoso works for violin, I can't imagine that you'll be satisfied with one disk. You'll want this, plus the Monica Huggett Rosary Sonatas (2 CDs), plus the Sonata for two Violas d'amore on the CD "Viola d'Amore" by Affetti Musicali....
Read no further, lest you overdraw your credit card!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The title could also be the more conventional Latin spelling Unum Caelum which google translator says means "one heaven". Read morePublished on April 17, 2014 by JT
Biber, to my mind at least, is a hidden treasure. This lovely album, coupled with his Mystery Sonatas, comprises some of the loveliest violin sonatas I've ever discovered. Read morePublished on January 25, 2011 by Sentinel