April’s Recording of the Month is a dance-inspired account of Biber’s Mystery Sonatas – sometimes called The Rosary Sonatas – from Amandine Beyer and ensemble Gli Incogniti. The album was deeply influenced by the baroque violinist’s collaboration with choreographer Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker.
Arranged in three cycles of five – the Five Joyful Mysteries, the Five Sorrowful Mysteries and the Five Glorious Mysteries – plus a final Passacaglia, Biber’s compositions drew on the dance music of his day. Clive Paget caught up with the violinist to discuss her interpretation of Biber’s suites on the lives of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, and to find out more about the composer’s devilish use of scordatura – or retuning the violin – for each sonata.
What’s your personal history with these works?
It’s a long story! [laughs] Like, love and hate – or like love and suffering! [laughs] Because some of the pieces are really tricky. In my concert life, sometimes I’ve played this one, sometimes that one in a mixed program. Two years ago, I think I had five or six [under my fingers],...