Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber von Bibern

Born 12 August 1644. Died 3 May 1704.
Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber von Bibern

Biography

Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber von Bibern (12 August 1644 (baptised) – 3 May 1704) was a Bohemian-Austrian composer and violinist. Born in the small Bohemian town of Kremsier (Wartenberg) (Stráž pod Ralskem), Biber worked at Graz and Kroměříž before he illegally left his Kremsier (Kroměříž) employer (Prince-Bishop Carl Liechtenstein-Castelcorno) and settled in Salzburg. He remained there for the rest of his life, publishing much of his music but apparently seldom, if ever, giving concert tours.

Biber was one of the most important composers for the violin in the history of the instrument. His technique allowed him to easily reach the 6th and 7th positions, employ multiple stops in intricate polyphonic passages, and explore the various possibilities of scordatura tuning. He also wrote one of the earliest known pieces for solo violin, the monumental passacaglia of the Mystery Sonatas. During Biber's lifetime, his music was known and imitated throughout Europe. In the late 18th century he was named the best violin composer of the 17th century by music historian Charles Burney. In the late 20th century Biber's music, especially the Mystery Sonatas, enjoyed a renaissance. Today, it is widely performed and recorded.

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Links & Information

BBC Reviews

  1. Review of Violin Sonatas

    Violin Sonatas

    Reviewed by Claire Rogers
    Andrew Manze is surely the most talented baroque violinist around today, and in his...
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