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Biber: Litaniae Sancto Josepho; Muffat: Missa in Labore Requies / Junghanel
Heinrich Ignaz Biber, Georg Muffat, Concerto Palatino
Biber: Litaniae Sancto Josepho; Muffat: Missa in Labore Requies / Junghanel
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #1

The 17th-century Austrian composer Heinrich Biber is remembered today for his extraordinary solo violin music--collections such as the Mystery Sonatas. He wrote a number of large-scale instrumental works and choral pieces ...  more »

      
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The 17th-century Austrian composer Heinrich Biber is remembered today for his extraordinary solo violin music--collections such as the Mystery Sonatas. He wrote a number of large-scale instrumental works and choral pieces as well, but their reputation is not as high. They include a lot of grand gestures for brass, but they tend to be harmonically static and often seem long-winded. So Konrad Junghänel and his superb musicians have really achieved something by making the works on this disc sound so appealing. The Litaniae de Sancto Josepho ("Litanies of Saint Joseph") and the two sonatas have a bit of harmonic variety and a lot of exciting instrumental color, with penetrating strings, grave trombones, and brilliant trumpets alongside their mellower relatives, cornetts. Junghänel gives the music a rhythmic spring that holds a listener's interest--and probably brings a smile to the face. Alongside Biber's music on this disc is a similarly scored Mass by Georg Muffat, a contemporary and colleague of Biber. While Biber's music seems very much of the 17th century, parts of Muffat's Mass have a marchlike pulse, brief solo passages, and simple fugues that prefigure early Haydn. --Matthew Westphal

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CD Reviews

Forgotten masterpieces
John Weretka | Melbourne, Australia | 09/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I purchased this recording in order to further my interest in the liturgical music of Heinrich Biber. The Litany of St Joseph on this CD is a good work, but having now heard a great deal of Biber's sacred music, I am aware of the way in which Biber continually deploys the same devices in his sacred music and this Litany doesn't have anything to add if one is familiar with the Missa Saliburgensis or the Missa Bruxellensis. The real revelation on this disc is the Missa in labore requies by Muffat, the only sacred work currently associated with this composer. This is an absolute masterpiece of melody, architecture and orchestration. The disc is fleshed out with Biber's Sonata Sancti Polycarpi (a fairly stereotypical work for trumpet ensemble) and one of the sonatas from the Fidicinium sacro-profanum. Joining these are two instrumental works by Bertali, whose star must surely rise again - both are highly effective works with a magnificent sense of colour. Cantus Colln and Concerto Palatino clearly have fun with these works; as some of their discs are technically superb but lifeless, the energy here is doubly thrilling as it is also allied to a technically flawless performance. Very highly recommended."