Paul McCreesh records the music of Biber et al., Media vita in morte Sumus, a musical tribute to Biber, (p) 2004 DG Archiv Produktion. The black CD is a memorial for Biber, for those remembering his death some 300 years ago (now). Included music of Biber includes: * Requiem ex F con terza minore * Missa ex B a 6 but also music by Schmelzer, Muffat, and a nice fitting end (postlude) by Lassus. This music was evidently performed live in a series of concerts recently by the ensemble, augmented even by more selections contemporary to Biber's lifetime. In exhaustive audition of this CD's music is beyond my ability at this time; I find Biber's vocal music several steps below the quality of his instrumental music. Listening to two tracks of Biber by the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra's Consort was three-times more fulfilling than the entire audition of this latest CD by McCreesh and company. The vocal style employed by Biber in these works is rather old-school, he looks backwards, not forwards in his handling of counterpoint. For McCreesh's benefit, the music performed is done well by the ensemble. There are some nice moments buried within the liturgical framework McCreesh invents for the recording, and I especially liked the closing Lassus. However, in the end, I would have preferred more Biber, less ceremony. This talented composer wouldn't want to be remembered, I'm guessing, with some of his weakest compositions. Reprogrammed with our CD players we can add these two vocal works by Biber to our collections, but as a programme I found it lacking in sustainable interest.
This originally appeared online in January, 2005.