The Rosary Sonatas (also known as the Mystery Sonatas) of Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber are his most celebrated works, and their technical demands and innovations have given them a mystique quite apart from their religious associations. Rachel Podger's recording for Channel Classics is a virtuoso's showcase, where she displays her consummate talents and her expressive depth in rendering Biber's elaborate music for violin and continuo with a compelling mix of flair and reverence. These 16 sonatas, inspired by the Joyful Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries, and the Glorious Mysteries of the Roman Catholic Rosary, and capped by the Guardian Angel sonata, depict the central events of the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, though they are also a compendium of Baroque violin techniques, such as scordatura tunings, multistops, contrapuntal passagework, and special bowing effects, which came into vogue in the late 17th century. Podger's scrupulous attention to detail and fine musicianship make this double SACD a treasure for fans of authentic period-style Biber, and the multichannel sound is vibrant and almost palpable in its presence. Highly recommended.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2