Requiem a 15 Battalia a 10 Import
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Biber's grand Requiem in A Major was probably written for the funeral of his employer, Archbishop Maximilian of Salzburg. It is a celebratory piece, with trumpets (and timpani added by Savall) and rich orchestration, quite suitable for a heavenbound soul. The quieter moments ("Sanctus") are just as effective as the big ones ("Dies irae"). The CD's opener, a 13-minute "Battalia" for instruments only, is amazingly colorful and contains some weird, entertaining dissonances. The performances by La Capella Reial de Catalunya and Le Concert des Nations are ideal. Biber seems to be coming into his own lately, and the recent CDs devoted to his work are very exciting. He was apparently a virtuoso who enjoyed making big statements; they deserve to be heard. Lovers of "high Baroque" music will be moved and delighted. --Robert Levine
Top Customer Reviews
The recording quality is splendid, it captured the sonority of the grand Cathedral in Salzburg very well.
If you had money to buy one more recording in your life, this should be it. If you can't afford it, take a loan !
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The A Major Requiem à 15 in Concerto is a favourite of mine and the only other recording I've ever heard is Ton Koopman's with his Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir on ERATO. I've loved Koopman's recording ever since I bought it, shortly after it was released in the 1990s. It was coupled with the magnificent Vesperæ à 32 voci. I was eager to hear another recording of this little known work. Only two requiems by Biber have survived, this one, in A major and the F minor Requiem. Both are masterpieces and each takes a different approach. The A Major work features trumpets, trombones, timpani, oboes (perhaps added later?), dulcian [fagotto], strings and, of course, basso continuo. The F minor work uses strings, two dulcians, three trombones, and multiple organs and is a much more sombre and darker work.
Savall's recording was made in Salzburg Cathedral and takes advantage of four of the organs in there. The sound is beautiful and splendid and, indeed, moving. We are transported to a beautiful world without pain - a glimpse of Heaven, in fact. The opening Marcia Funebre gives one the opportunity to wind and brass of Le Concert des Nations in the Salsburg Cathedral space. What a sound! It is worth buying the disc for the March alone. The Requiem in Concerto which follows is a beautiful and radiant work - full of hope for the afterlife and great grace and beauty.
I hope Jordi Savall and his ensembles, La Capella Reial de Catalunya and Le Concert des Nations, get around to recording the deep, dark and sober Requiem in F minor some time soon.
This current disc is highly recommended by me.
The Requiem is naturally a much deeper piece of music. This is a requiem of pomp and circumstance, a graduation as it were into celebrity death. I prefer Savall's interpretation of this particular Biber masterwork to any other I've heard, for its full-bodied version of the spirit. Recorded in the acoustically bizarre Salzburg Cathedral, it offers challenges to the world of digital acoustics, but the engineers have come closer to making the voices sound human than some of the other recent productions of huge-scale Biber compositions. Personally I find this and other such grandiose choral music easier to hear on good headphones than on the best stereo speakers.
If you are just meeting Jordi Savall for the first time, you should know that he is the world's foremost virtuoso on the viola da gamba. His recordings of French and Spanish chamber music for gamba and continuo, and for gambas in duet, are superb, and perhaps will entice more frequent listening than such super-human music as Biber's requiems and celebratory masses. Chacun a son gout or something like that.
Beautiful production, beautiful execution, beautiful sound.