Biber – Mensa Sonora
Baroque Band presents works by Bohemian-Austrian composer Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber. One of the most important composers for the violin in the history of the instrument (the prominent 18th century music historian Charles Burney called Biber the best violin composer of the 17th century), Biber’sMensa Sonora (meaning ‘Harmonious Table’) was music composed for aristocratic dining, though it is anything but superficial background music. The disc closes with the 10-part Battalia for strings, which uses several unique devices for the time: hitting the strings with the wood of the bow, placing paper under the strings of the basses to imitate a snare drum, snap pizzicatos, and folk songs rendered simultaneously in several different keys to portray drunken soldiers.
- Mensa Sonora – Sonata No. 1 in D Major
- Mensa Sonora – Sonata No. 2 in F Major
- Mensa Sonora – Partita No. 3 in A Minor
- Mensa Sonora – Sonata No. 4 in B-Flat Major
- Mensa Sonora – Sonata No. 5 in E Major
- Mensa Sonora – Sonata No. 6 in G Minor
CRITICAL PRAISE FOR BIBER MENSA SONORA:
By any standard this is an excellent performance for a period-instrument group, largely because director Garry Clarke made the smart decision to use a larger-size ensemble rather than having the music played one to a part…. As usual with this label, the engineering is superbly natural and well-balanced. A fine disc that all fans of Baroque music will want to consider.
~ Classics Today
Baroque Band’s is the most successful in capturing the spirit of this unusual and innovative music [Battalia]…. An excellent, urgently recommended debut disc.
~ Fanfare Magazine
The players are excellent. Their tone, tuned to a low A, though unvibrated, is warm and rich. They bring out the spirit of the dances by changing inflection, articulation, and expression with the bow.
~ Strings Magazine
The Chicago-based Baroque Band, formed in 2007, plays this music to perfection with a highly effective blend of subtlety and precision. Truly delicious!
~ The WholeNote
A fine disc that all fans of Baroque music will want to consider.
~ Classics Today
The Baroque Band is the brainchild of British violinist and period-instruments exponent Garry Clarke, who came to Chicago in 2007 and founded the group. The fifteen or so members seem to be enjoying themselves immensely in the music, especially in the Battalia, and provide a variety of stylish touches throughout the program. Along with Boston Baroque and Philharmonia Baroque, they are a welcome addition to America’s elite period-instruments crowd.
~ Classical Candor