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Early Music New York - Frederick Renz, Director

a revered institution - The New York Times

2017 - 2018 ~ NYC Subscription Concerts ~ 43rd Season


Notes - April 11, 2018

Early Notation

Composers have always found innovative ways to come up with new sounds. In the 19th century, Hector Berlioz, at one point in his Symphonie fantastique, had string players use the wood of their bows (“col legno”) to strike the strings. In the 20th, Charles Ives, inspired by competing marching bands playing in different keys, composed music that did the same; Henry Cowell inserted paper between piano strings to add a buzz; and Béla Bartók called for string players to snap their strings against the fingerboards (“snap pizzicato”).
Heinrich Ignaz von Biber
Heinrich Ignaz von Biber

But well before any of those musical “special effects” pioneers, 17th century composer Heinrich Ignaz von Biber had beat them to it. His 1673 Battalia, for a mere ten players, contained all these effects, in a portrayal of the world of warfare that holds up well against such later efforts as Beethoven’s Wellington’s Victory and Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.
In the space of about 10 minutes, Biber includes an Ives-ian passage wherein drunken soldiers of numerous nationalities sing their native folk songs in multiple keys and rhythms; a march for violin and bass violone “col legno” (the violin representing a fife, the violone – with paper inserted between strings – depicting a snare drum); and an intense battle where the lower strings deploy the “snap pizzicato” to represent cannon fire.
Biber, arguably the most innovative composer/violinist of his era, had other tricks up his sleeve, including re-tuning the strings (“scordatura”) to create the extraordinary, otherworldly sound world inhabited by his most famous work, the Rosary Sonatas (also known as the Mystery Sonatas) for violin and continuo.

Venue -

First Church of Christ, Scientist
Central Park West at
68th Street
First Church interior
Near Lincoln Center, the First Church of Christ, Scientist faces Central Park at 68th St. and is reached via the M72, M10 and Columbus Ave. M7 & M11 bus lines; subways C to 72nd at Central Park West (70th St. exit) & #1 to 66th at Broadway. Parking garages are available along W. 68th and W. 66th Streets. For information regarding disability access call 212-280-0330.
At your service
For a listing of restaurants near West 68th Street in Lincoln Square, click  here.



Closing Concert of the Season!
Venice to Vienna

Saturday, May 5th at 7:30 pm

First Church of Christ,  Scientist
Central Park West at 68th Street

Frederick RenzThe ‘new’ Italian style of Claudio Monteverdi and his contemporaries, blossoming at the turn of the 17th century, quickly made its way across the Alps, as Italians were engaged by Austrian and German courts.

Monteverdi Echoes will juxtapose works by Italian masters with those of composers in the north who absorbed and integrated the southern influence, especially in regard to program music.


Program to include


Giovanni Gabrieli (c.1556 – 1612)
Canzon duodecima à 10 from Sacrae sinfonie (1597)

Claudio Monteverdi (1567 – 1643)

Sinfonie, Ritornelli & Moresca, from the opera L'Orfeo (1607)


Carlo Farina (c.1600 – 1639)
Capriccio stravagante (1627)

Johann Heinrich Schmelzer (c.1620-23 – 1680)
Sonata a sei from Sacro-Profanus (1662)

Antonio Bertali (1605 1669)

Three Sonatas

Heinrich Ignaz von Biber (1644 – 1704)
Battalia (1673)


(program subject to change)

for more information visit

  • Single reserved seat tickets are $40 each.
  • Students $20 half hour prior to performance at the door.
Call the Box Office: 212-280-0330
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New York City Department of Cultural Affairs

in partnership with the City Council,

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs          New York State Council on the Arts

New York State Council on the Arts

with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo,

the New York State Legislature

and the generosity of

EMFs Friends of Early Music.

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