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Heinrich BIBER (1644-1704) Vesperae longiores ac breviores Dixit Dominus [5:54] Confitebor tibi Domine [6:11] Sonata VIII, from Sonatae tam auris, quam aulis servientes
[3:59] Beatus vir [4:17] Laudate, pueri, Dominum [3:04] Laudate Dominum [2:04] Sonata: Annuntiatio Mariae, from Mystery Sonatas [6:21]
Magnificat [5:43] Emperor LEOPOLD I (1640-1705) Ave maris Stella [7:09] Giovanni LEGRENZI (ca 1620-1690) Salve Regina [5:58] Rupert Ignaz MAYR (1646-1712) Domine ad adiuvandum me festina [1:12] Sancta Maria, Mater Dei [7:39]
Yale Schola Cantorum; Yale Collegium Players; Simon Carrington
rec. 5,6 December 2004 St Mary's Church New Haven, Connecticut
rec. 7 December 2004 St Michael's Church New York, New York
DDD CARUS 83348 [59:30]
The title - or rather the presence on the front cover solely
of Biber's name - of this excellent CD from the enterprising
Carus label is a little misleading. The lion's share of the
music on what's rather a short offering at under an hour is
indeed by Heinrich Biber whose fresh, innovative and distinctive-sounding
music has been experiencing something of a reappraisal and well-deserved
growth in popularity in recent years.
But there's also very inspiring and appealing music by the Habsburg
emperor Leopold 1 (his Ave maris Stella [tr.9] is a sublime
piece of great grace and melodic beauty), by Rupert Mayr (whose
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei [tr.10] is lucid, simple and
focused without being intense) and by Giovanni Legrenzi, who
is best-known as a composer of instrumental music (his Salve
Regina [tr.12] is a fitting end to the Vespers).
Theirs are contributions to the music very much in the same
idiom as that of Biber.
The rationale for including their music is, sadly, not (just)
that the service of Vespers is composed anyway of a multiplicity
of psalms, hymns and antiphons and the central Magnificat.
Rather, that Biber'sVesperae longiores acbreviores is incomplete. Items from these other composers
have been interleaved. Indeed the famous opening call to worship,
Domine ad adiuvandum me festina [tr.1], is actually from
Mayr's own Vesper settings. To that degree, this collection
is not even a reconstruction. But Biber's style, his vibrancy,
harmonic uplift and sleek fit of text to music justly permeates
- as if the whole thing were his inspiration.
Biber was one of the most important composers in the German-speaking
world at the end of the seventeenth century. Associated with
Salzburg, he 'escaped' there from a previous employer in Bohemia
and - rising quickly through court ranks - established a highly
creditable musical world, the most celebrated icons of which
are the two masses (Salisburgensis and Buxellensis)
which employ very large forces. The majority of Biber's liturgical
work is significantly more intimate … the settings for Vespers
on this CD are for four voices (solo, tutti), four strings and
And yet it's a remarkably rich sound that Carrington gets from
his singers and instrumentalists. Their performances are confident,
suave, full of elegance and yet vigorous in all the right ways.
The Yale Schola Cantorum is a 24-strong chamber group whose
star is still on the rise. There is a steadiness to their articulation,
and sense of ownership of the music performed here which truly
These are the North American première recordings - indeed, there
appears to be no other current recording of the collection.
It took place in a pleasantly reverberant and roomy church setting
in upstate New York. The liner-notes are minimal and contain
the texts in Latin and German as well as English. All in all,
a useful addition to Biber's growing discography - with the
welcome supplement from contemporaries
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