Reviewed by Simon Carpenter
Beautiful music, beautifully performed. Heinrich Biber (1644 - 1704), one of the lesser known of Baroque composers, in the 1670s was employed by the Archbishop of Salzburg, a strong believer in the then common Catholic practice of Marian worship - worship of the Virgin Mary. Biber, apparently keen to win his favour, composed a set of Rosary Sonatas "the honour of the 15 holy mysteries of the Rosary" of which this disk includes nine, and dedicated them to him. But dodgy origins aside, this is great music. This CD includes the five sonatas which make up of The Joyful Mysteries - "The Annunciation", "Mary's Visit to Elizabeth", "The Birth Of Christ", "The Presentation In The Temple" and "The Twelve Year Old Jesus In The Temple" - and the four representing The Sorrowful Mysteries, taking the story from "The Agony In The Garden" right through to "The Carrying Of The Cross." A brilliant violinist, Biber set the music for violin and basso continuo. Here they are played by leading Baroque specialist Monica Huggett on violin, and her Sonniere ensemble. And a great job they do too. One for the specialists.
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