It’s Biber. Not that Bieber.

The English Concert

This year, The English Concert celebrates their 40th Anniversary, making their concert on Thursday 19 June an extra special addition to our festival! They’ll perform pre-Bach music, exploring works by Muffat, Navarra and Biber with Sophie Gent on first violin. Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber was a prolific Bohemian-Austrian composer of the 17th century; below, we take a closer look at two of his works which The English Concert will perform in June.

Biber’s violin music became extremely influential, with music historian Charles Burney naming him as the best violin composer of 17th-century music! He is known for his use of multiple stops in complex polyphonic passages and his explorations of scordatura (alternative tunings for the violin).

The English Concert will be performing Biber’s Sonata representativa, a piece inspired by the sounds of birds and animals. He was interested in the idea that musical devices could directly correspond to certain emotions. When writing the Sonata, Biber turned to Musurgia Universalis, a text which explored this idea with notations of animal sounds. See if you can hear the nightingale, the cuckoo, or even the frog!

In Baletti Lamentabili à 4, Biber continues exploring musical imitation through the form of dance music. In one particular dance section Die Weeber’ Aria (The Musket Aria), Biber indicates the player to play püf püf to create the sound of musket fire!

The English Concert
Thursday 19 June
Christ Church Spitalfields
Book tickets


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