Bohemia : Glorious Mysteries – Biber’s Rosary Sonatas


To rekindle Marian devotion, the Catholic Church established the Rosary prayer. The practice was especially assiduous in Salzburg, instigated by Prince-Archbishop Maximilian Gandolph, Biber’s then employer. Every October evening, one of the three Mysteries of the Rosary was read aloud: joyful mysteries, sorrowful mysteries, glorious mysteries. As the reading was accompanied by music, one may assume Biber composed the Rosary Sonatas for the occasion. The cycle was therefore not meant to be performed all at a time. As to the final passacaglia, it was played for the feast of the Guardian Angel.
The utmost originality of these Sonatas lies in Biber’s systematic resort to “scordatura”, a violin tuning technique which consists in lowering or raising the pitch of the strings, and even interchanging them. As each of these sonatas is tuned differently, performance is exceedingly complex. One may view in this extreme degree of difficulty the desire to submit the instrumentalist to a series of initiatory ordeals on his path to the sacred mystery.

Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber (1644 – 1704)
Glorious Mysteries
(The last part of the Rosary Sonatas)

XI « Die Auferstehung », The Resurrection Jesus, who arose from the dead

XII « Christi Himmelfährt », The Ascension Jesus, who ascended to heaven

Johann Jakob Froberger (1616 -1667)
Lamentation faite sur la mort très douloureuse de Sa Majesté Impériale, Ferdinand le troisième, Lamento for solo harpsichord

Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber
XIII « Ausgiessung des heiligen Geistes », The Holy Spirit Jesus, who sent us the Holy Spirit

XIV « Maria Himmelfährt » The Assumption Jesus, o Virgin, who welcomed you beside him

Angelo Michele Bartolotti (? – 1682)
Suite for solo theorbo

Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber
XV « Die Krönung der Jungfrau Maria », The Coronation of the Virgin
Jesus, o Virgin, who crowned you in heaven

« Der Schutzengel », Gardian Angel
Passacaglia for solo violin without bass

Ensemble Luceram
Hélène Schmitt, violin and direction
Bruno Helstroffer, theorbo
Francisco Mañalich, bass viol
François Guerrier, organ and harpsichord

Bohemia : Glorious Mysteries – Biber’s Rosary Sonatas

  • Opening

    • Wednesday 29 July 2020.
      At 9 pm.
  • Prices

    • Cat. 1 - Unnumbered seats
      Normal : € 27
      Cat. 2 - Unnumbered seats
      Normal : € 22.