The best violinist of the 18th century who had served the Salzburg archbishop 100 years before Mozart; the greatest composer of the pre-Bach era (according to P. Hindemith); creator of the “Rosary” for violin, the Salzburg mass for 53 voices and an array of sacred and worldly music pieces which showcased his masterful technique, energetic attitude, thirst for knowledge and great sense of humour — all this refers to Heinrich von Biber.
Biber gained fame as a virtuoso, made a career in music composition, got the noble “von” prefix (along with a coupon for free bread, wine and wood), and wrote an incredibly beautiful mass for when his daughter became a nun. However, his own credo was “Fidem In Fidebus” (“I believe in violins”).
Today, we are listening to his “Battalia” for ten instruments, performed by members of musicAeterna. The eight-part piece by Biber has a special place in the tradition of “battle music” which spans from Janequin and Gabrieli to Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev. “Battalia” is full of surprises: strings imitating wind and percussion, polytonality, “prepared” bass and other tricks one could expect to hear in 20th-century music but not in a piece written in 1673. The masterful soundscape of battle preparations and the fight itself, “drunk musketeer songs”, irony, bravado and sarcasm go hand in hand with the touching lyricism of impending tragedy, while the final lamento dispels all illusions: there is always someone to mourn for at the battlefield.
On the day of Heinrich von Biber’s christening, we are happy to share with you the “violin believer’s” music piece that was recorded at Dom Radio in Saint Petersburg.
Afanasiy Chupin, Violin I
Vladislav Pesin, Violin I & Viola
Vadim Teyfikov, Violin I
Dmitry Chepiga, Violin I
Elena Ivanova, Violin II
Ekaterina Romanova, Violin II
Anastasia Shapoval, Violin II
Nail Bakiev, Viola
Irina Sopova, Viola
Arseniy Yuriev, Viola
Miriam Prandi, Cello
Alexander Prozorov, Cello
Alexey Vlasov, Double bass
Vadim Teifikov, Double bass & Drum
Ekaterina Byazrova (guest musician), Harpsichord, Organ
Sasha Kretzan, director of the Umbra Penumbra creative alliance
Alexander Tupolev, producer
Sergey Kalvarsky, director, editing director
Yan Rymsha, director, videographer
Vladislav Amelin, videographer
Yuriy Anisimov, engineer
Maximilien Ciup, producer and sound engineer
Ivan Borisov, assistant sound engineer