Biber’s Rosary Sonatas

We are well in to the month of the Holy Rosary and I would like to share some non-liturgical music for a change, Biber’s Rosary Sonatas.

Biber wrote these violin sonatas when he was in the employ of the Archbishop of Salzburg making him the predecessor of a certain Herr Mozart by about a hundred years.

Each piece is inspired by one of the fifteen mysteries of the Holy Rosary and offer reflections that are as virtuosic as they are beautiful. Biber, in stark contrast to the contemporary figure of a similar name, was an outstanding musician as evidenced by his use of alternative tunings for the violin strings (and thus of all the fingerings) in such complex compositions.

With limited recordings on YouTube, I have chosen to share Rachel Podger’s rendering because I prefer her balance between playing with expression and maintaining a pure ‘early music’ sound.

I recommend in addition to praying your daily Rosary, you pour yourself a drink, put on the Rosary Sonatas and read St Louis de Montfort’s Secret of the Rosary!