H.I.F. Biber: a genius, whose life story is for the most part unresearched, a violin virtuoso who raised the technique of violin playing in Austria to an incredibly high level, a man of incredible powers of imagination and the courage to venture on abstraction. The complexity of his work is astonishing, his oeuvre encompasses a range from richly orchestrated church music, artfully elaborated chamber music, to virtuoso music for his personal solo instrument, the violin.
In his collection Fidicinium Sacro-Profanum, Biber set new standards also in the field of string chamber music. In the first part the master composes for five-part string ensemble: 2 violins, 2 violas, violone and basso continuo were established at his time as the standard ensemble in Austrian cultural circles. In a richly coloured, five-part setting, Biber artfully weaves a polyphonic texture that allows one or more parts to alternate and come
to the fore. In the second part of this colletion he dispenses with the five-part arrangement hitherto predominant in Austria. He compensates for the luxury of sound by augmenting the flexibility of the four individual parts.
Perhaps it is simply the humility and clear, alert ear of all the musicians in the ensemble in confrontation with the special qualities of Biber’s chamber music that convey to the audience the qualities of the master’s musical message!