Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber
A Chronology


Born at Wartenberg (now Stráž pod Ralskem), Bohemia, and baptised on 12 May as 'Hennericus filius Martini e[t] Mariae Piebers'


Nothing is known about Biber's education and training during these years, although it has been suggested at various times that he may have studied violin with Antonio Bertali or Heinrich Schmelzer in Vienna.


Biber may have studied at a Jesuit Gymnasium in Bohemia. This could well have been the Jesuit Gymnasium at Opava, as he was in contact with Pavel Vejvanovský and Jesuit-trained musicians in the early 1660s.


Date of the MS of Biber's first extant work, a Salve regina [for Soprano, vln, va da gamba and org]

before 1668

Biber was in the employ (according to later correspondence) of Prince Johann Seyfried Eggenberg in Graz


Entered the service of Bishop Karl Liechtenstein-Castelkorn in Kroměříž by 1668, if not before, as a valet de chambre


Composed the Sonata violin solo representativa [for vln and continuo] for carnival


Entered service of Archbishop Maximilian Gandolph von Khuenberg in Salzburg in the Autumn of this year, after having famously left Kroměříž insalutato hospite (without obtaining prior permission). The Tyrolean violin maker Jakob Stainer referred to Biber as 'der vortreffliche Virtuos (the superb virtuoso) Herr Biber', in this year


The presentation MS of the Mystery Sonatas [15 works for vln and continuo, and a concluding passacaglia for solo violin] was probably prepared during this decade, even if some of the works may date from Biber's years at Kroměříž. Also, during the early 1670s, much of Biber's music was copied and taken to Kromeriz where it survives today (some are autographs)


Marries Maria Weiss in Hellbrunn (on the outskirts of Salzburg) on 30 May


Battalia [suite for strings] dates from this year


Biber's Missa Christi resurgentis [a 22-part, concerted mass setting] from this time


Vespers [for 8 solo voices, 8 ripieno voices, and orchestra]


Sonatae tam aris quam aulis servientes [12 sonatas suitable for performance at church and court, in 5-8 parts: strings and brass] published in Salzburg. Bishop Karl Liechtenstein finally sent the formal document releasing Biber from service in this year


Performs several of his sonatas in Laxemberg (near Vienna) for Emperor Leopold I, who awarded him a gold chain


Appointed Vice-Kapellmeister at the Salzburg court


Mensa sonora [six suites for strings] published in Salzburg


Performed for Emporer Leopold I again, and petitioned him for ennoblement, but his application was rejected


Sonatae violino solo [8 sonatas for vln and bc] engraved in Salzburg and published in Nuremberg


Composed Missa Salisburgensis [?] for the celebrations marking the 1100th anniversary of the founding of the archdiocese of Salzburg


Fidicinium sacro-profanum [12 sonatas for 1/2 vlns, 2 vla, bc] published in Nuremberg


After death of Andreas Hofer, appointed Kapellmeister, and dean of the choir school


Petitioned Leopold I again for ennoblement, and this time was successful. Consequently, was given the title 'Biber von Bibern'. Subsequently, Biber was promoted to the station of 'Lord High Steward' (Latin: Dapfifer; German: Trucheß), which marked the culmination of his social career. By this point Biber's salary had risen to 60 gulden a month, with free board and lodging including such items as wine, bread and firewood


Visited his birth place, Stráž pod Ralskem


Arminio, Chi la dura la vince [Biber's only extant opera] composed, and dedicated to Archbishop Johann Ernst von Thun. Biber's other operas and school dramas date from the 1680s and 1690s


Vesperae longiores ac breviores una cum litaniis Lauretanis [for 4 solo voices, 4 ripieno voices, strings, 2 trb, and org], published in Salzburg, and dedicated to Archbishop Johann Ernst von Thun


Wrote his Singfundament [a singing treatise]


Harmonia artificioso-ariosa [7 trio sonatas] published. This publication was reissued posthumously in a corrupt print in 1712. It is the latter which served as the source for the (also textually corrupt) edition in 'DTÖ'


Biber composed and directed his Missa Sancti Henrici on 15 July for the investiture of his daughter Anna Magdalena at the Benedictine convent of Nonnberg (Salzburg)


Wrote an approbatio to the Manuductio ad organum [a music theory treatise] by his colleague Johann Baptist Samber, which was published in Salzburg in this year


Died in Salzburg, and buried in St Peter's cemetery. His grave cannot befound, although there is now a memorial plaque on the house where he lived in Getreidegasse.