Related Reviews
BBC Music Magazine
4½ Stars
'...gutsy, committed playing, spurred on by the richly varied continuo of Boston Baroque...'
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Early Music America
'Achieving a wide range of hues in her tone, Martinson plays the expressive pieces flawlessly, sensitively supported by her Boston Baroque colleagues...The sound quality of these first-rate performances is clear, vivid, and present.'
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Gramophone
'A wonderfully detailed and atmospheric recording of Biber’s Mystery Sonatas, made all the more so in 96kHz/24-bit Linn Studio Master.'
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MusicWeb International
'There can be absolutely no doubt of these players’ absolute mastery of this cycle. Martinsson’s performance is fervent, sincere and profoundly skilled.'
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Res Musica
"Christina Day Martinson and her companions from the Boston Baroque give us here a masterful illustration."
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Audiophile Audition
'The gifts of Ms. Martinson are on full display...The booklet, notes, and packaging are luxuriously first rate.'
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Infodad
'There are scarcely enough superlatives to say how well Martinson’s handling of this magnificent music works.'
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MDR Kultur
'Her violin playing is characterised by great emotionality [and] her playing technique is excellent...'
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BBC Radio 3 'Record Review'
'I don’t think I’ve heard a performance that so clearly shows the difference it makes to the sounds of the instrument and therefore the timbre of each sonata...'
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Blogs Mollat
'...a superb rendition of one of the masterpieces of music...This Linn CD is absolutely remarkable.'
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Classical CD Choice
'From Linn, Biber: The Mystery Sonatas is granted an emotional reading by the Boston Baroque with Christina Day Martinson and Martin Pearlman.'
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Boston Baroque - Biber: The Mystery Sonatas - The Strad


01 July 2018
The Strad
Robin Stowell

Capturing the glory, joy and sorrow of these mysterious works.

Following Biber's catalytic anniversaries of 1994 and 2004, these sonatas have become part of the Baroque canon, not least for their experimental scordatura, innovative technical demands and imaginative expressive content. Using multiple violins (and reserving one solely for no. 1 1 's extreme tuning), Christina Day Martinson makes light of the virtuosity of this deeply profound music, left-hand pizzicatos, up- and down-bow staccato, ricochet and other bowings forming part of her impressive technical armoury. She also revels in conveying the illustrative nature of the score, projecting the trumpet and drum imitations in no.12 with stirring energy and depicting the five 'sorrowful mysteries' (nos.6-10), involving the biblical events from 'The Agony in the Garden' through to 'The Crucifixion and eventual earthquake, with striking dramatic impact. She shapes phrases gracefully, as at the beginning of no.9, and gives a compelling sense of architecture to individual movements, particularly the extended variations of Sonatas nos.4 and 14 and the final, free-flowing Passacaglia. She adds extempore ornamentation tastefully throughout and uses dynamic contrasts and subtleties of articulation and timing to enhance the theatricality of her accounts. However, her playing of the required violin tuning before each sonata intrudes upon the smooth progression of the biblical narrative. Day Martinson gains responsive support from a small continuo group, the instrumental colours of which add to the overall dramatic effect, particularly in no.6. And Michael Leopold's theorbo/guitar contribution serves both to illustrate the biblical scenario and to drive the music forward, as in the Seventh Sonata. The recorded sound and balance are exemplary.


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