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

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Manuscript date

The manuscript can't be after 1678, because the print of the medallions is from this date. see: [1]

I agree 1678 is a terminus ante quem, which isn't quite the same as dating the manuscript "ca.1678". The date of ca.1674 which I gave there earlier today was largely me working from memory: there isn't firm consensus on a dating for this work, but most Biber scholars seem to think the sonatas were composed sometime earlier in the decade than 1678. Jiří Sehnal believes them to date from ?1674 (which is what we have in the Biber worklist); Eric Chafe's catalog of the works in The Church Music of Heinrich Biber gives the date as ?1676. If (and it's a big "if") the composition of the fifteen sonatas and the passacaglia spanned those years, i.e. 1674–76, then the presentation manuscript for Archbishop von Khuenburg would have to have been inscribed and bound once the set was complete, ca.1676, and by 1678 only at the very latest. Would not ca.1676 be a better compromise?
I also had a look at the PDFs uploaded and there's a lot of white space left around the images of the leaves, wouldn't that have been better trimmed back? Regards, Philip Legge @ © talk 09:08, 27 June 2010 (UTC)


1678 is a terminus post quem for the manuscript. The medallions cutted out and pasted in the manuscipt were edited in 1678. This is a very new achievement of the research (2008). A date for the composition is based on assumptions. A terminus ante quem is the year of the death of the dedicatee, Max Gandolph, 1689. There are stilistic studies, the mystery sonatas should be erlier, than the Sonatae, violino solo 1681, but this is just based on the use of the scordatura. But Bibers last work, the Harmonia artificiosa use scordatura too, so is this not so cogent to me. Mysterious, hmm? I think ca.1678 is okay in the light of this newer researches.

white spaces left - I dont really know: I dont wanted to cut too much from the paper: so where it is some skew, I left some spaces - are they disturbing?

Best Regards Károlyi Tamás

Hi Károlyi,
I wasn’t aware the original engravings for the set had been rediscovered – the literature had previously made mention that they were unidentified, i.e. yet another mystery of the myriad surrounding these Mystery Sonatas. Many thanks for that info! The connection with the Salzburg Fellowship Society of the Rosary was known, so having a source and date for the engravings that relates directly to them makes the history of the work more involved and interesting. As I said, the belief was that the sonatas are from early in the 1670s – the extensive use of scordatura has been held to point backwards towards Biber’s Kroměříž years, so I wonder if this opinion will be somewhat modified in the light of the new find.
The other possibility is that the pieces already existed but were for some years left unpublished, so 1678 merely marked an opportunity for Biber to organise the pieces and make a fair presentation copy for dedication to the Archbishop (which does leave 1678 year as the appropriate date for this manuscript). And Maximilian Gandolf von Khuenburg’s dates are actually 1622–87, but I think virtually no one had thought these sonatas post-dated the Sonatæ violino solo of 1681. ;-)
As for the white space – if anyone were to go to print the PDF, the images of the MS would tend to be smaller and off-centre, since they aren’t centered on the original images from the BSB but are placed against the left or right margin. I don’t have the PDF software to rectify this, so it might best be left to one of the others around who can do fancy stuff like this.
Regards, Philip Legge @ © talk 14:53, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
Hi Philip,
 :) This is a compromise! :D

- for the centering: I have an Acrobat, but I don't really understand of it... I've cutted off the big margins - and my Reader shows now only the ms pages, but no white margins. Regards

PS: I've made a new version, so you wouldn't se any margins more. :) Tamás

And now the files are enormous! O.o Maybe you should select some sort of compression option? KGill talk email 21:02, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, i'll make a compression now. Tamás
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