Mensa Sonora: Biber and His Contemporaries

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
Compositions by Austrian seventeenth century composer Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber heard on this album are not the radical virtuoso music of the "Rosary Sonatas" or his other works that make use of such devices as scordatura or retuning. Mensa Sonora, the title of a Biber collection excerpted here, means "the sonorous table," and these pieces by Biber and other composers of his time were likely meant as background music for the meals of a noble patron. This is apparently the reason for the photos of a pomegranate on the cover, but the design of the album as a whole is strikingly unappealing. The works are ensemble sonatas or sonatas for a solo instrument with continuo ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
Compositions by Austrian seventeenth century composer Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber heard on this album are not the radical virtuoso music of the "Rosary Sonatas" or his other works that make use of such devices as scordatura or retuning. Mensa Sonora, the title of a Biber collection excerpted here, means "the sonorous table," and these pieces by Biber and other composers of his time were likely meant as background music for the meals of a noble patron. This is apparently the reason for the photos of a pomegranate on the cover, but the design of the album as a whole is strikingly unappealing. The works are ensemble sonatas or sonatas for a solo instrument with continuo in sequences of short movements as short as 25 seconds. The spectacular passacaglia for solo violin often appended to the"Rosary Sonatas" closes the program, and its surprise-filled, sparkling performance by Sophie Gent is worth the price of the disc by itself. The Montreal historical-instrument ensemble Masques contributes rather wiry but nicely balanced and coordinated readings of the rest of the music, much of which is quite obscure -- the rather lush works by Schmelzer, Kertzinger, and Johann Michael Nicolai help fill out the picture of German music a half-century before Bach. For the ordinary listener, the sonatas and the "Mensa Sonora" sections by Biber will stand out from the rest of the music with their dramatic structural uses of virtuoso passagework, even if there is nothing here that is as conceptually staggering as his real masterworks. Analekta's sound is top notch, and the disc confirms Montreal's emergence as a major center for the performance of Baroque music.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/21/2006
  • Label: Analekta
  • UPC: 774204990923
  • Catalog Number: 29909
  • Sales rank: 388,371

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Sonata tam Aris à 5, for 2 violins, 2 violas & continuo No. 8 in G major (Sonatae No. 8), C. 121 - Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber & Mario Labbe (5:43)
  2. 2–10 Sonata for strings & continuo No. 2 in G minor (from Armonico Tributo) - Georg Muffat & Mario Labbe (16:05)
  3. 3 Sonata for 3 violas da gamba in D minor: Adagio - Johann Michael Nicolai & Mario Labbe (0:56)
  4. 4 Sonata for 3 violas da gamba in D minor: Allegro, Adagio - Johann Michael Nicolai & Mario Labbe (2:07)
  5. 5 Sonata for 3 violas da gamba in D minor: Ciaconi adagio - Johann Michael Nicolai & Mario Labbe (3:39)
  6. 14–18 Pars III of "Mensa Sonora", suite for violins, 2 violas & continuo in A minor, C. 71 - Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber & Mario Labbe (7:36)
  7. 15 Sonata No. 7 à 5 in A major - Johann Heinrich Schmelzer & Mario Labbe (4:25)
  8. 16 Sonatina con altre arie, for viola da gamba (or scordatura violin) & continuo in D minor (attrib.) - Mario Labbe & Augustinus Kertzinger (4:54)
  9. 17 Sonata tam Aris à 5, for 2 violins, 2 violas & continuo No. 9 in B flat major (Sonatae No. 9), C. 122 - Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber & Mario Labbe (5:50)
  10. 22–28 Pars VI of "Mensa Sonora", suite for violins, 2 violas & continuo in G minor, C. 74 - Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber & Mario Labbe (8:27)
  11. 23 Passacaglia (Mystery Sonata), for violin solo in G minor, C. 105: Adagio, Presto - Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber & Mario Labbe (9:13)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Ensemble Masques Primary Artist
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