The Sonata in E Minor of Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber, performed by Voices of Music: Elizabeth Blumenstock, baroque violin; William Skeen, viola da gamba, David Tayler, archlute & Hanneke van Proosdij, harpsichord. Live, 4K ultra high definition video from the Voices of Music “La Bella più Bella” concert, January 30, 2016. For this performance, a new edition was made from the original manuscript, with the correct bass part.
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Q. What is Early Music performance, or historical performance?
A. We play on instruments from the time of the composers, and we use the original music and playing techniques: it’s a special sound.
Q. Why are there no conductors?
A. Conductors weren’t invented until the 19th century; since we seek to recreate a historical performance, the music is led from the keyboard or violin, or the music is played as chamber music~or both 🙂
Q. What are period instruments or original instruments; how are they different from modern instruments?
A. As instruments became modernized in the 19th century, builders and players tended to focus on the volume of sound and the stability of tuning. Modern steel strings replaced the older materials, and instruments were often machine made. Historical instruments, built individually by hand and with overall lighter construction, have extremely complex overtones—which we find delightful. Modern instruments are of course perfectly suited to more modern music.
Q. Why is the pitch lower, or higher?
A. Early Music performance uses many different pitches, and these pitches create different tone colors on the instruments. See https://goo.gl/pVBNAC
In 1681, Biber engraved and published in Salzburg a set of violin sonatas that extended the compositional limits of the violin. The sonata No. 5 in E Minor (C. 142) uses a combination of variation technique and double and triple stops alternating with free passagework to create complex textures and affects. A brilliant work from the one of the finest composers writing at the end of the 17th century.
For this performance, a new edition was prepared using the original 1681 manuscript. Voices of Music is creating a worldwide digital library of music videos, recordings and editions, free for anyone in the world. To support this vital project, which will enable generations of people all around the world to enjoy Classical music, both now and in the future, please consider a tax-deductible donation or sponsor a recording
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The players and their instruments
Voices of Music
Hanneke van Proosdij & David Tayler, directors
Elizabeth Blumenstock, baroque violin by Andrea Guarneri, Cremona, 1660
(courtesy Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra Period Instrument Trust)
William Skeen, viola da gamba by John Pringle, North Carolina, 2001; after William Addison, London, c1670
David Tayler, archlute by Andreas von Holst, Munich, 2012, after Tieffenbrucker, c1610
Hanneke van Proosdij, Italian single manual harpsichord by Johannes Klinkhamer,
Amsterdam, 2000, after Cristofori, Florence, c1725