Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (1644-1704) was one of the most important composers for the violin in the history of the instrument. His technique allowed him to easily reach the 6th and 7th positions, employ multiple stops in intricate polyphonic passages and explore the various possibilities of scordatura tuning.
The collection Sonatae, violino solo (1681), begins with a sonata in A major and ends with an unusual triosonata for solo violin, again in A major. Each sonata presents a special character, a specific colour, its own independent writing style with its peculiar form; no two are alike! The sonatas show that Biber was capable of music of great beauty and reflection as well as virtuosity.
In the Sonata Representativa, one finds Biber's instrumental impressions of cuckoos, frogs, cats and marching musketeers. These are supplied with a simple ground bass that provides plenty of room for the soloist to stretch out and show off, but are written at such a high level of difficulty that few violinists attempt to master them.
“A no-holds-barred account of this eight-sonata set, together with the Sonata Representativa. Letzbar meets Biber's technical demands masterfully.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2011 ****