Monday, June 18, 2012

Biber & Schmelzer: Sonatas

"The glowing incandescence of Austrian mid-baroque instrumental music could hardly be more effectively demonstrated than in the choice of repertoire and the performances on this disc. The harmonically sumptuous and tonally exotic programme is shared between the Vienna court musician, Schmelzer, and his younger Bohemian contemporary, Biber. . . . The menu has been thoughtfully chosen, capitalizing upon the vivid contrasts that exist at the two extremes, between the scintillating trumpet-dominated pieces by Biber, on the one hand, and Schmelzer’s affecting Sonata sopra la morte Ferdinand III on the other.

Emperor Ferdinand was Schmelzer’s musically gifted employer, and his death in 1657 prompted . . . this outstandingly beautiful piece . . . the most touching of Schmelzer’s three elegiac pieces assembled here, all of which however are harmonically distinctive and of sustained interest. . . . The Freiburg musicians seem to revel in the wonderfully varied sonorities inherent in Biber’s consort textures, responding sympathetically to the composer’s colourfully imaginative tonal palette.

The sonatas with trumpet are likely to make instant appeal but it is the more sorrowful utterances of Schmelzer which make a deeper impression on my senses. A fine release." --Nicholas Anderson, Gramophone.

MP3 320 · 159 MB

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