New Ondine release includes Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber’s (1644-1704) 16 Mystery Sonatas, also known as Rosary Sonatas. This set of virtuosic violin sonatas is Biber’s most well-known work. They also serve as unique masterpieces of the Baroque violin repertoire. In the present recording violinist Sirkka-Liisa Kaakinen-Pilch is joined by the Finnish Baroque ensemble Battalia.
Biber’s Mystery Sonatas feature 15 rosary mysteries from the life of Jesus and Virgin Mary. One of the most prominent characteristics of Biber’s work is the use of various tunings, i.e. scordatura. Out of the sixteen sonatas, fourteen require the use of ‘mistuned’ violin.
Sirkka-Liisa Kaakinen-Pilch is nowadays in great demand as a leader of countless renowned early music ensembles and orchestras, performing music of the Baroque and symphonies of the age of Mozart and Schubert. Her solo repertoire includes works by Biber, Johann Sebastian Bach, and solo violin works of the 16th and 17th centuries. She also plays the viola and viola d’amore. Among her numerous tasks, she has also worked 10 years as the leader of Philippe Herreweghe’s Collegium Vocale.
Kaakinen-Pichl has also recorded a double-album of Johann Sebastian Bach’s solo violin sonatas and partitas for Ondine.
Editor’s Choice - Chamber
"...She [Sirkka-Lisa Kaakinen-Pilch] also manages a wonderous balance of the folk music with which Biber would have been most familiar with the graceful, intellectual pieces they more readily are. This combination pays all the nescessay dues to a unique set of pieces that is full of symbolism, musical extremism and the meditation on a mystery as complex as the 15 mysteries of the Rosary."
Caroline Gill - Gramophone magazine - September 2014
"Sirkka-Liisa Kaakinen-Pilch offers styish, cmpelling accounts of these sonatas devoted to the mysteries of the rosary. She demonstrates total technical command and insightful understanding of Biber’s dramatic musical language ... the recording has exemplary clarity and warmth." *****
Robin Stowell - Early Music today - September-November 2014
Brian Clark - Early Music Review No 160 - June 2014