Biber: Requiem; Battalia a 10

COMPOSERS: Biber
LABELS: L’OISEAU-LYRE
WORKS: Requiem; Battalia a 10
PERFORMER: Catherine Bott, Tessa Bonner (soprano), Christopher Robson (countertenor), John Mark Ainsley (tenor), Michael George (bar)New London Consort/Philip Pickett
CATALOGUE NO: 436 460-2 DDD
Biber’s Requiem is a work of sombre magnificence, its grandeur enhanced by the ‘spatial polychoral effects’ the composer achieved by separating his performers into three ‘choirs’, each with its own organ. This superb new recording is the first to follow Biber’s original layouts: the rich sonorities are interwoven to create a music of sensuous solemnity, brought close to perfection here by excellent soloists.

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The CD’s second half reverts to familiar Biber fare: string sonatas, notably the witty Battalia a 10 which requires the strings to imitate cannon fire, drunken carousing and other unlikely sounds. Graham Lock