C.P.E. Bach is particularly renowned for his unrivalled piano sonatas in the sensitive style (‘empfindsamer Stil’), and contributed to almost every important form of classical music, but he began to recognise the symphony as a medium of great expressive potential in the mid-18th century, and eventually wrote an impressive total of 19 works within this genre. Two splendid examples are presented here.
The Symphony Wq173 owes its charm to small surprises such as a sudden shift to the minor key in the recapitulation of the first movement, but also to the calmly flowing melodic line of the second movement, and the minuet-like passages of the final movement. Meanwhile, the Symphony Wq180 is intriguing in form throughout, though the fanfare-like opening subject and the restless semiquaver figures of the violins, redolent of the baroque concertante style, above all lend it an exuberant quality. The Magnificat, which rounds off the CD, provides a more clearly baroque, and of course vocal, counterweight to the symphonies, and moves through dramatically contrasting emotions, alternately triumphant, severe and subdued. The piece was recorded live to mark the 200th anniversary of the composer’s death.
The Kammerorchester ‘Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’ is, of course, the natural choice of orchestra for these pieces, specialising as they do in the works of the composer and his contemporaries (they have also recorded an album of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach’s Sinfonias for Brilliant Classics, 94690). Veteran conductor Hartmut Haenchen has been at the helm of the orchestra for over 25 years.
- The Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach year 2014 (300th anniversary of his birth) is in full swing, an eye (and ear-) opener for many music lovers, who might have known his name, but hardly any of his music, discovering a wealth of highly original and attractive works.
- CPE Bach’s Magnificat is a magnificent work, even more substantial than his father’s (Johann Sebastian) Magnificat. It is scored for 4 vocal soloists, choir and orchestra, and it contains some of his best music, impressive and moving.
- Performed by the elite Kammerorchester C.P.E. Bach conducted by Hartmut Haenchen, implementing the principles of the “Historically Informed Music Practice” in a modern instruments ensemble. Among the excellent soloists we find Peter Schreier and Olaf Bär.
- Booklet contains notes on the music and sung texts.