This two disc set of Heinrich von Biber’s Rosary or Mystery Sonatas presents the complete set of fifteen sonatas and the concluding passacaglia which appears in the sole surviving Munich manuscript.
The sonatas each correspond to the fifteen mysteries or meditations on the life of Christ. The meditations are traditionally grouped into three groups of five; Joyful – his early life, Sorrowful – his passion; Glorious – his ressurection.
In writing the sonatas Biber uses scordatura, tuning the strings to a different set of notes for each sonata. This achieves technical feats impossible with normal tuning and results in different sonorities resulting from the varying amounts of pressure from the strings and achieving the different desired mood for each sonata. For the violinist, this involves a constant contradiction between sight and sound, for what he sees is not be what he hears!
Walter Reiter’s recording of the Mystery Sonatas is the culmination of a seven year labour of love and is in his own words, is his "most powerfully artistic experience to date".