Projects · Biber Mystery Sonatas : ‘Via Crucis’ – violin and continuo

Biber’s Mystery (or Rosary) Sonatas were originally written to be played during Mass in Salzburg. Set to be recorded in early 2015 and released shortly after by Channel Classics, Rachel will tour a programme of half of the sonatas through 2014/2015 and 2015/2016. Depicting the main stories in the life of Christ, the sonatas are extremely evocative and could be performed in a sacred space using the Stations of the Cross, and/ or include suitable lighting to enhance the performance.

Apart from the first and last sonata, all the pieces in this collection require ‘scordatura’ tuning, a deliberate mistuning of the strings in order to create unique sonorities for each sonata. For The Resurrection the violinist is asked to cross over the two middle strings, therefore forming the shape of a cross between the tailpiece and the bridge of the violin. The sound created by some of the ‘mistunings’ is at times haunting, joyful and always engaging. Regardless of your spiritual persuasion this a beautiful programme that pushes the boundaries of listener and performer alike.

Biber: Sonata No.1 The Annunciation
Biber: Sonata No.3 The Nativity
Biber: Sonata No.4 The Presentation in The Temple
Böhm: Suite for harpsichord in D minor
Biber: Sonata No.10 The Crucifixion


Biber: Sonata No.11 The Resurrection
Biber: Sonata No.14 The Assumption of The Blessed Virgin
Weiss: Suite for lute in D minor
Biber: Sonata No.15 The Coronation of The Blessed Virgin
Biber: Sonata No.16 The Guardian Angel