CD » Heinrich Ignaz Franz BIBER (1644-1704): Rosary (Mystery) Sonatas

Lucie Sedláková Hůlová – Baroque Violin
Jaroslav Tůma – Baroque Organ

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A complete recording on 2CDs of a unique work of its kind – the cycle of Rosary Sonatas by one of the most important Baroque musicians, Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber, a native of Wartenberg (Stráž pod Ralskem) in Northern Bohemia, in an authentic interpretation following the  author’s original prescription, using the so-called violin scordatura (a special technique of re-tuning thestrings in order to achieve a specific tone colour and the opportunity for unusual harmonic chords commonly used in the Baroque period).

The Rosary Sonatas have a spiritual theme (each sonata sets one rosary secret to music). This recording was made at an important Marian pilgrimage site – in the Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Horní Police, just 35 kms from Biber’s birthplace. In this church there is a newly reconstructed historical organ built by the organ manufacturer Vladimír Šlajch, which is one of the few in Central Europe suitable for an authentic interpretation of Baroque works due to its unique disposition, but also its tuning height of a = 415 Hz and uneven temperament common in Biber’s time.

Violinist Lucie Sedláková Hůlová plays a copy of a Guarneri del Gesú Baroque violin made by the Czech violin maker Dalibor Bzirský.   

The CD booklet contains a text by P. Stanislav Přibyl reflecting on the musical, historical and spiritual context of the work.

Biber composed the Rosary Sonatas in his most prolific creative period during his musical employment with the Archbishop of Salzburg. We considered it important to record this work in the spiritual environment of Biber’s native region, where so far his rare musical legacy remains almost forgotten.

Despite the fact that Biber’s cycle has already been recorded several times in other countries, this authentic recording of Czech performers using period instruments of Czech producers and performed in an inspiring Baroque church in Biber’s native region is unique in Czech and in international discography.


CD 1
The Joyful Mysteries
Sonata 1 d minor, senza scordatura The Annunciation
Sonata 2 A Major, scordatura a e’ a’ e” The Visitation
Sonata 3 b minor, scordatura b f‘ b’ d” The Nativity
Sonata 4 d minor, scordatura a d’ a’ d” The Presentation
Sonata 5 A Major, scordatura a e’ a’ c♯’” The Finding in the Temple
The Sorrowful Mysteries
Sonata 6 c minor, scordatura a e‘ g’ d” The Agony in the Garden
Sonata 7 F Major, scordatura c’ f’ a’ c” The Scourging
Sonata 8 B Major, scordatura d’ f’ b‘ d” The Crowning with Thorns
Sonata 9 a minor, scordatura c’ e’ a’ e” Jesus carries his Cross
Sonata 10 g minor, scordatura g d’ a’ d” The Crucifixion

CD 2
The Glorious Mysteries
Sonata 11 G Major, scordatura g d’ × g’ d” (= g g’ d’ d”) The Resurrection
Sonata 12 C Major, scordatura c’ e’ g’ c” The Ascension
Sonata 13 d minor, scordatura a e’ c♯’” e” The Descent of the Holy Ghost
Sonata 14 D Major, scordatura a e’ a’ d” The Assumption of the Virgin Mary
Sonata 15 C Major, scordatura g c’ g’ d” The Coronation of the Virgin Mary
Passagalia for Solo Violin senza scordatura The Guardian Angel

Lucie Sedláková Hůlová – Baroque Violin
Jaroslav Tůma – Baroque Organ

Recorded in August 2020 in the Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Horní Police (North Bohemia)
Sound engineer Aleš Dvořák
Produced in 2020 by Arta Music (Vítězslav Janda)

If you would like to buy this CD, please send us an e-mail at Thank you.

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