Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (August 12, 1644May 3, 1704) was a Bohemian-Austrian composer and violinist.

Biber was born in Wartenberg (now Stráž pod Ralskem, Czech Republic). He received his first position in 1668 as musician in the court of Archbishop Karl Liechtenstein-Kastelkorn at Olmutz. But Biber failed to return from a visit to Innsbruck without permission. On this visit he met the at the time famous violin maker Jakob Stainer, who mentioned him in a later document as "the outstanding virtuoso Herr Biber". He was first a violinist at the castle of Kroměříž and the Salzburg court. In 1684 he became Kapellmeister in Salzburg, where he died twenty years later.

His prolific works show a predilection for canonic use and harmonic diapason that pre-date the later Baroque works of Johann Pachelbel and Johann Sebastian Bach. He was known as a violin virtuoso and is best known for his violin works, many of which employ scordatura (unconventional tunings of the open strings), a technique introduced by the Italian composer Marco Uccellini.

The music of Biber has enjoyed a renaissance, in part, because of The Rosary Sonatas. This remarkable set of 16 sonatas is also known as The Mystery Sonatas (in reference to key events in the lives of the Virgin Mary and Christ) and The Copper-Engraving Sonatas (because of the engravings at the head of the sonatas). Each sonata employs a different tuning of the violin. This use of scordatura transforms the violin's expressivity from the pleasures of the Five Joyful Mysteries (the Annunciation, etc.) through the trauma of the Five Sorrowful Mysteries (the Crucifixion, etc.) to the ethereal nature of the Six Glorious Mysteries. The Glorious Mysteries start with the Resurrection Sonata—where the two middle strings are symbolically crossed over—and end with a passacaglia for solo violin using standard tuning (Sonata No 16), thereby completing the cycle of scordaturas. Remarkably, in Sonata No 15 Biber anticipates the theme of Paganini's Capriccio No 24 almost exactly. We can assume that Paganini took his inspiration from Biber (just as Liszt, Brahms and Rachmaninov were later inspired by Paganini's famous Caprice).

Biber wrote abundant choral and chamber music, concertos, operas, as well as several more popular pieces such as the Nightwatchman Serenade and Harmonia Artificiosa. The Missa Salisburgensis is an astonishing polyphonic setting of the mass for 53 independent voices which is currently attributed to Biber (it was previously thought to be the work of Orazio Benevoli).

Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_Ignaz_Biber


The violonist and composer originating from Bohemia Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (1644-1704) is one of the most outstanding composer of the 17th century. Arrived at Salzburg in 1670, Biber works at the service of the Emperor of Austria Leopold Ier, impassioned music; he is named in 1670 vice-Kapellmeister Vault of Salzburg and Kapellmeister in 1684. his reputation of violonist is propagated quickly through Europe and his compositions - in particular of many sonatas for violin, two operas and of the sacred music written especially as from 1684 - do of him one of the founders of the German school for violin. He will finish his life at the court of Munich.
“Causes and consequences”, such could be the subtitle of this disc. Composed in 1673, probably for the celebrations of the Carnival at the Court, Battalia is a “drama put in music”. 
Work is composed of small musical tables - whose complete title in is: The Battle: The horde dissolved of the musketeers, Mars, the combat, and lamentations of the casualties, imitated with airs, and dedicated to Bacchus - bound between them by an action, told thanks to very original musical means. Indeed, just Biber of the sound effects, noted very precisely such as displacements, the use of the collar legno (notes played with the wood of the bow), the dissonances, etc Battalia is rich in popular influences, traditional songs and musics which surrounded Biber at the time of his childhood in Bohemia.

source : http://www.alia-vox.com/cataleg.php?id=13
(hope that the translation is good and understandable... If not, it's my fault... apologizes)