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 Heinrich Biber

Heinrich Biber

Birth
Death 3 May 1704 (aged 59)
Salzburg, Salzburg Stadt, Salzburg, Austria
Burial Salzburg, Salzburg Stadt, Salzburg, Austria
Memorial ID 20537808 · View Source
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Composer, Violinist. Full name Heinrich Ignaz von Biber. Considered the outstanding violin virtuoso of his time, and one of the most imaginative of all Baroque composers. Certain facets of his music anticipated Romantic and even 20th Century techniques. Biber was born in Wartenberg, Bohemia (now Straz pod Ralskem, Czech Republic), and spent much of his youth in the Bishop of Olmutz's retinue. His brilliance as a violinist was unappreciated there and at age 26 he abandoned his post to join the Salzburg orchestra of Archbishop Khuenberg. He was Kapellmeister of Salzburg from 1684 until his death. Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I knighted him in 1690, allowing him to add the aristocratic "von" to his name. Most of Biber's 80 surviving compositions center on the violin; they require enormous technique and suggest that he was a performer of the first order. From the outset of his career he pioneered in extra-musical association. Although program music existed during the Baroque era (Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" is the most famous example), Biber ventured beyond pictorialism to explore religious and philosophical themes. His 15 "Mystery Sonatas" for violin and continuo (c. 1674) depict key events in the life of Christ and employ "scordatura" (unorthodox tuning) for a more visceral sound; the "Resurrection" sonata must be played with the violin's two middle strings crossed, a startlingly modern example of instrumental manipulation. Biber's "Sonata representiva" (1669) and "The Battle" (c. 1683) for chamber orchestra are among the earliest of tone poems. His sacred music is of lesser importance, with the exception of the "Missa Salisburgensis" (1682), a singular work for 53 independent voices, divided into five choirs, each with orchestra accompaniment. After centuries of neglect, Biber's posthumous reputation virtually exploded in the 1980s and today his music is frequently performed and studied.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
  • Added: 19 Jul 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 20537808
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Heinrich Biber (12 Aug 1644–3 May 1704), Find A Grave Memorial no. 20537808, citing Saint Peter's Churchyard Cemetery, Salzburg, Salzburg Stadt, Salzburg, Austria ; Maintained by Find A Grave .