Biber: Sonatas; Ballettae; Battalia

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

LABELS: Teldec Das Alte Werk
WORKS: Sonatas; Ballettae; Battalia
PERFORMER: Concentus Musicus Wien/ Nikolaus Harnoncourt
CATALOGUE NO: 4509-97914-2 ADD (1971)
Twenty-five years after recording, the performances remain remarkably fresh and stylish: the sound may be a touch dry, and some of the analogue edits seem not to have transferred well, but the playing is vigorous and assured. Though short, the programme offers a well-balanced selection of Biber’s output for the splendid Court Orchestra at Kromeríz in Moravia, several pieces having virtuoso trumpet parts. Perhaps the most interesting of them is the Battalia, with its thrilling battle sounds, its march and extraordinary ‘dissolute revelling of musketeers’ – Biber’s own words for a cacophony of folk songs sounding more like Charles Ives than Baroque programme music. Kate Bolton