Tag Archives: Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber

🎻♫♪ – Mystery Sonatas by Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber

List Item: Listen to half of the 1001 Classical Works You Must Hear Before You Die
97/501Title: Mystery Sonatas
Composer: Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber
Nationality: Bohemian

I guess when a piece gets as old as this one, it’ll accumulate a few names. In the 1001 book they are referred to as the Mystery Sonatas, the version I listened to called them the Rosary Sonatas and then they can also be called Copper-Engraving Sonatas. I guess that the name Mystery Sonatas comes from the repeated phrase ‘the mystery of faith’ rather than the fact that they were only really discovered over two centuries after completion.

The entire piece is made 16 sections, the first 15 being short sonatas and then a final closer. These are all religious in nature, with the 15 short sonatas being three equal groups of five dealing with the early life, the crucifixion and then the resurrection of Jesus. These are all violin centric and sound hideously complicated to perform, which makes for a very good listen, even if it takes more than two hours to get through them all.