Mystery (Rosary) Sonatas (Biber, Heinrich Ignaz Franz von)

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Performances

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Sheet Music

Scores and Parts

Complete

PDF scanned by D-Mbs
Tschabrendeki (2010/6/26)

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Tschabrendeki (2010/6/26)

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Irishmaestro (2013/12/6)

Publisher. Info. Manuscript, BSB Mus. ms.4123, n.d.(ca.1678)
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TN-Biber Mystery Sonatas frontispiece.jpg

PDF scanned by ctesibius
ctesibius (2009/12/14)

Editor Erwin Luntz (1877-1949)
Publisher. Info. Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Österreich, Band 25
Vienna: Österreichischer Bundesverlag, 1905. Plate Dm.d.Tk.in Oest.XII.2.
Copyright
Misc. Notes The realisation of Sonata XI within the volume (score pp.49–57 and non-scordatura violin part pp. 19–20) is largely incorrect; a corrected realisation was later issued, which appears on pages 149 to 154 of the PDF; Biber’s original part appears on pages 139 and 140 of the PDF file (or refer to pages 47–53 of the original manuscript, above).
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TN-Biber C 90-105 Mystery sonatas ed Luntz.jpg

Selections

PDF typeset by Johan Tufvesson
Guifre (2007/1/6)

PDF typeset by Johan Tufvesson
Guifre (2007/1/6)

PDF typeset by Johan Tufvesson
Guifre (2007/1/6)

PDF typeset by Johan Tufvesson
Guifre (2007/1/6)

Editor Johan Tufvesson
Publisher. Info. Halmstad: Johan Tufvesson
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Misc. Notes These file(s) are part of the Werner Icking Music Collection.
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Biber C 90 The Annunciation.jpg

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Philip Legge (2009/12/15)

Editor Erwin Luntz (1877-1949)
Publisher. Info. Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Österreich, Band 25
Vienna: Österreichischer Bundesverlag, 1905. Plate Dm.d.Tk.in Oest.XII.2.
Copyright
Misc. Notes Pages 1–9 comprise the original 1905 print without the faulty realisations of the violin part; pages 10–15 are the revised accompaniment, with a more correct realisation of the scordatura. The scordatura violin part as Biber wrote it is on pages 16 and 17.
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Biber C 100 The Resurrection.jpg

PDF typeset by Johan Tufvesson
wrshannon (2012/3/5)

Editor Johan Tufvesson
Publisher. Info. Johan Tufvesson
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Misc. Notes These file(s) are part of the Werner Icking Music Collection.
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WIMA.a28f-passac.pdf

PDF typeset by Jean Michel Del...
Reccmo (2012/4/15)

PDF typeset by Jean Michel Del...
Reccmo (2012/4/15)

PDF typeset by Jean Michel Del...
Reccmo (2012/4/15)

Editor Jean Michel Delabre
Publisher. Info. Jean Michel Delabre
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Misc. Notes These file(s) are part of the Werner Icking Music Collection.
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WIMA.e840-passacva.pdf

Arrangements and Transcriptions

Sonata XVI in G minor

For Cello solo (Hamrefors)

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Erik Hamrefors (2013/1/2)

Arranger Erik Hamrefors
Publisher. Info. Erik Hamrefors
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Misc. Notes Transposed to C minor
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PMLP07754-Passacaglia Cello.pdf

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General Information

Work Title Mystery (Rosary) Sonatas [and Passacaglia]
Alternative. Title Rosenkranz-Sonaten; Copper-Engraving Sonatas
Composer Biber, Heinrich Ignaz Franz von
Opus/Catalogue NumberOp./Cat. No. C 90–105
Movements/SectionsMov'ts/Sec's 16
Year/Date of CompositionY/D of Comp. ?1674
First Publication. 1905
Composer Time PeriodComp. Period Baroque
Piece Style Baroque
Instrumentation violin, continuo

Misc. Comments

The Mystery (or Rosary) Sonatas constitute one of the virtuoso high points of the Baroque violin literature, as in addition to the daring technical and contrapuntal demands of Biber’s writing, each sonata employs a different tuning of the violin’s strings, known as scordatura (the first sonata and the final passacaglia alone employ the standard violin tuning). In addition the eleventh sonata requires the violinist to cross over the middle strings at the bridge and nut to allow octave tunings between the adjacent pairs of outer strings. Each of the violin sonatas is accompanied by a figured continuo bass, whereas the passacaglia is for violin alone. The collection of sonatas survives in a manuscript copy with engravings accompanying each of the sections and portraying the depicted scene.

A lengthy but illuminating discussion of the background for this style of composition is found at Dr James Clements’ website, entitled Penetrating the Mysteries.

Tunings for the 15 Mystery Sonatas and Passacaglia

15 Sonatas and Passacaglia

The Joyful Mysteries

  • Sonata 1 in D minor, The Annunciation, senza scordatura
Præludium. Aria allegro – Variation – Adagio. Finale
  • Sonata 2 in A major, Mary's Visit to Elizabeth, scordatura a e' a' e''
Sonata. Presto. Allemande. Presto
  • Sonata 3 in B minor, The Nativity, scordatura b f' b' d''
Sonata – Presto. Courante – Double. Adagio
  • Sonata 4 in D minor, The Presentation, scordatura a d' a' d''
Ciacona – Adagio – Presto – Adagio
  • Sonata 5 in A major, Child Jesus in the Temple, scordatura a e' a' c''
Præludium – Presto. Allemande. Gigue. Sarabande – Double.

The Sorrowful Mysteries

  • Sonata 6 in C minor, The Agony in the Garden, scordatura a e' g' d''
Lamento – Adagio – Presto. [Aria] – Adagio – Adagio
  • Sonata 7 in F major, The Scourging of Jesus, scordatura c' f' a' c''
Allemande – Variation. Sarabande – Variation.
  • Sonata 8 in B major, The Crown of Thorns, scordatura d' f' b' d''
Sonata, Adagio – Presto – Adagio. Gigue – Double, Presto – Double II
  • Sonata 9 in A minor, Carrying the Cross, scordatura c' e' a' e''
Sonata. Courante – Double. Finale
  • Sonata 10 in G minor, The Crucifixion, scordatura g d' a' d''
Præludium. Aria – Variatio – Adagio

The Glorious Mysteries

  • Sonata 11 in G major, The Resurrection, scordatura g d' × g' d'' (= g g' d' d'')
Sonata – Surrexit Christus hodie. Adagio
  • Sonata 12 in C major, The Ascension, scordatura c' e' g' c''
Intrada. Aria Tubicinum. Allemande. Courante – Double
  • Sonata 13 in D minor, The Holy Ghost, scordatura a e' c'' e''
Sonata. Gavotte. Gigue. Sarabande
  • Sonata 14 in D major, The Assumption of Mary, scordatura a e' a' d''
[Prelude] – Grave – Adagio. Aria – Aria – Gigue
  • Sonata 15 in C major, Crowning of the Virgin Mary, scordatura g c' g' d''
Sonata. Aria – Canzone. Sarabande

The Guardian Angel

  • Passacaglia in G minor for solo violin, senza scordatura
Passagalia – Adagio – Allegro – Adagio

Copper-plate engravings

Sonata I in d, The Annunciation Sonata II in A, Mary's Visit to Elizabeth Sonata III in b, The Nativity Sonata IV in d, The Presentation
Sonata V in A, Child Jesus in the Temple Sonata VI in c, The Agony in the Garden Sonata VII in F, The Scourging of Jesus Sonata VIII in B♭, The Crown of Thorns
Sonata IX in a, Carrying the Cross Sonata X in g, The Crucifixion Sonata XI in G, The Resurrection Sonata XII in C, The Ascension
Sonata XIII in d, The Holy Ghost Sonata XIV in D, The Assumption of Mary into Heaven Sonata XV in C, Crowning of the Virgin Mary Passagalia in g, The Guardian Angel