W.F. Bach: Complete Harpsichord Music

W.F. Bach: Complete Harpsichord Music
Composer Wilhelm Friedemann Bach
Artist Claudio Astronio harpsichord
Format 6 CD
Cat. number 94240
EAN code 5028421942407
Release August 2017

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About this release

The son of the peerless Johann Sebastian, Wilhelm Friedemann was the least famous Bach of his time. Yet he is now regarded by some as the most brilliant of the Bach children, and is occasionally reported to have been his father's favourite. A master of numerous different keyboard instruments, he was not particularly prolific, and of his 100 or so known works, many remained unprinted until the 20th century.

The pieces that do survive and which feature on this recording are brilliantly virtuosic and at the same time quirkily expressive, always striving for originality in ways that ran against the established modi operandi of Bach's day. In fact, the composer was so committed to allowing the musical complexity that came naturally to him to flower fully that, unlike his more business-minded brothers, he resisted adapting his style to suit amateur musicians. In addition, his fantasias, in particular, give us a glimpse into
what must have been an impressive flair for improvisation. Alternately witty, cerebral, imaginative, emotive, dark and effervescent, and always challenging, this is not music for the faint-hearted performer.

Enter Claudio Astronio, a keyboard-player and conductor with a career that also spans jazz and pop music. For this album, Astronio has chosen to record all of W.F. Bach's keyboard works – which were never assigned to a particular instrument – on the harpsichord (with the exception of four miniatures played on the organ), rendering this recording a truly unique homage to the composer. Fanfare magazine has praised Astronio's "ability to convey the character and emotional dynamic of a vocal line" as "incredibly beautiful, sensitive and deeply touching".

Wilhelm Friedemann Bach was the least famous son of the great Johann Sebastian in his time. Yet reportedly he was his father’s favourite, and he was regarded as the most original and innovative of his offspring.
Wilhelm Friedemann left relatively little music, and much was only published only in the 20th century. He was an extraordinary keyboard player, which is shown in his works for the harpsichord, a collection of sonatas, fantasias, fugues and dances. His amazing improvisation skills are reflected in his style: original, witty, clever, sometimes dark and always full of imagination they are uncompromisingly challenging, a far cry from the charming and pleasing works of his brother Johann Christian (the London Bach). This is the first complete recording of Wilhelm Friedemann’s keyboard works on 6 CD’s, a tour de force by Italian Claudio Astronio, conductor, organist, harpsichordist, musicologist, an amazing artist with an open mind, pioneer in Early Music with a fondness of pop and jazz as well. “Astronio’s ability to convey the character and emotional dynamic of a vocal line is incredibly beautiful, sensitive and deeply touching” wrote Fanfare, America’s classical magazine.

Recorded in Italy in 2015–2017.
Features previously unpublished scores from the Vilnius manuscript.
Contains liner notes and a biography of the artist.

Listening

Track list

Disk 1

  1. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Fantasia in A Minor, F. 23
  2. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Fantasia in C Major, F. 14
  3. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Fantasia in D Minor, F. 19
  4. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Fantasia in E Minor, F. 20
  5. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Fantasia in C Minor, F. 15
  6. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Fantasia in D Minor, F. 18
  7. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Fantasia in D Major, F. 17
  8. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Fantasia in E Minor, F. 21
  9. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Fantasia in C Minor, F. 16
  10. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Fugue in C Minor, F. 32
  11. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Fugue in F Major, F. 33

Disk 2

  1. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in C Major, F. 200: I. Allegro
  2. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in C Major, F. 200: II. Andante
  3. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in C Major, F. 200: III. Presto
  4. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in F Major, F. 6a: I. Poco allegro
  5. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in F Major, F. 6a: II. Minuetto
  6. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in F Major, F. 6a: III. Presto
  7. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in E Minor, F. 204: I. Allegro non tanto
  8. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in E Minor, F. 204: II. Siciliano
  9. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in E Minor, F. 204: III. Vivace
  10. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in C Major, F. 1a: I. Allegro
  11. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in C Major, F. 1a: II. Minuetto I – II
  12. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in C Major, F. 1a: III. Vivace
  13. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in D Major, F. 4: I. Allegretto
  14. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in D Major, F. 4: II. Suave
  15. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in D Major, F. 4: III. Vivace
  16. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in E-Flat Major, F. 201: I. Allegro
  17. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in E-Flat Major, F. 201: II. Andante
  18. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in E-Flat Major, F. 201: III. Vivace
  19. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in C Major, F. 2: I. Allegro
  20. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in C Major, F. 2: II. Grave
  21. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in C Major, F. 2: III. Presto

Disk 3

  1. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in A Major, F. 8: I. Allegro
  2. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in A Major, F. 8: II. Largo con tenerezza
  3. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in A Major, F. 8: III. Allegro assai
  4. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in F Major, F. 202: I. Allegro
  5. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in F Major, F. 202: II. Siciliana
  6. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in F Major, F. 202: III. Presto
  7. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in E-Flat Major, F. 5: I. Allegro non troppo
  8. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in E-Flat Major, F. 5: II. Largo
  9. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in E-Flat Major, F. 5: III. Presto
  10. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in D Major, F. 3: I. Un poco allegro
  11. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in D Major, F. 3: II. Adagio
  12. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in D Major, F. 3: III. Vivace
  13. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in G Major, F. 7: I. Andantino – Allegro di molto
  14. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in G Major, F. 7: II. Lamento
  15. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in G Major, F. 7: III. Presto
  16. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in B-Flat Major, F. 9: I. Un poco allegro
  17. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in B-Flat Major, F. 9: II. Grazioso
  18. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Sonata in B-Flat Major, F. 9: III. Allegro molto

Disk 4

  1. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Polonaise in C Major, F. 12/1
  2. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Polonaise in C Minor, F. 12/2
  3. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Polonaise in D Major, F. 12/3
  4. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Harpsichord Concerto in G Major, F. 40: I. Allegro non troppo
  5. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Polonaise in D Minor, F. 12/4
  6. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Polonaise in E-Flat Major, F. 12/5
  7. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Polonaise in E-Flat Minor, F. 12/6
  8. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Polonaise in E Major, F. 12/7
  9. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Polonaise in E Minor, F. 12/8
  10. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Polonaise in F Major, F. 12/9
  11. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Polonaise in F Minor, F. 12/10
  12. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Polonaise in G Major, F. 12/11
  13. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Polonaise in G Minor, F. 12/12
  14. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Harpsichord Concerto in G Major, F. 40: II. Andante
  15. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Harpsichord Concerto in G Major, F. 40: III. Vivace

Disk 5

  1. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Suite in G Minor, F. 24: I. Allemande
  2. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Suite in G Minor, F. 24: II. Courante
  3. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Suite in G Minor, F. 24: III. Sarabande
  4. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Suite in G Minor, F. 24: IV. Presto
  5. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Suite in G Minor, F. 24: V. Bourreé
  6. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Suite in G Minor, F. 24: VI. Trio I – II
  7. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Fugue in C Major, F. 31/1
  8. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Fugue in C Minor, F. 31/2
  9. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Fugue in D Major, F. 31/3
  10. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Fugue in D Minor, F. 31/4
  11. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Fugue in E-Flat Major, F. 31/5
  12. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Fugue in E Minor, F. 31/6
  13. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Fugue in B-Flat Major, F. 31/7
  14. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Fugue in F Minor, F. 31/8
  15. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Minuet in G Minor, F. 25/1
  16. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Presto in D Minor, F. 25a
  17. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: La caccia in C Major, F. 26c
  18. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Reveille in C Major, F. 27
  19. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Gigue in G Major, F. 28
  20. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Prelude in C Minor. F. 29
  21. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: March in E-Flat Major, F. 30
  22. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Polonaise & Trio in C Major, F. 13
  23. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Fantasia in G major, F. 22

Disk 6

  1. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Ouverture in E-Flat Major, BR. A59
  2. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Minuet I – II in F Major, BR. A50a
  3. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Minuet I – II –3 Variations on Minuet I in F Major, BR. A50b
  4. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: March in F Major, BR. A57
  5. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Poco allegro, BR. A62
  6. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Fantasia in D Minor, BR. A105
  7. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Fantasia in G Major, BR. A106
  8. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Allegro in D Major, BR. A107
  9. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Allegro in D Minor, BR. A108
  10. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Minuet – Trio in C Major, BR. A109
  11. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Minuet in G Major with 13 Variations, BR. A110: I. Minuet
  12. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Minuet in G Major with 13 Variations, BR. A110: II. Var. 1
  13. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Minuet in G Major with 13 Variations, BR. A110: III. Var. 2
  14. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Minuet in G Major with 13 Variations, BR. A110: IV. Var. 3
  15. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Minuet in G Major with 13 Variations, BR. A110: V. Var. 4
  16. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Minuet in G Major with 13 Variations, BR. A110: VI. Var. 5
  17. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Minuet in G Major with 13 Variations, BR. A110: VII. Var. 6
  18. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Minuet in G Major with 13 Variations, BR. A110: VIII. Var. 7
  19. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Minuet in G Major with 13 Variations, BR. A110: IX. Var. 8
  20. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Minuet in G Major with 13 Variations, BR. A110: X. Var. 9
  21. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Minuet in G Major with 13 Variations, BR. A110: XI. Var. 10
  22. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Minuet in G Major with 13 Variations, BR. A110: XII. Var. 11
  23. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Minuet in G Major with 13 Variations, BR. A110: XIII. Var. 12
  24. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Minuet in G Major with 13 Variations, BR. A110: XIV. Var. 13
  25. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: “Christus, der ist mein Leben”, BR. A101
  26. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: “Die Seele Christi heilge mich”, BR. A102
  27. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: “Sey Lob und Ehr”, BR. A103
  28. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: “Nun freut euch, lieben Christen”, BR. A104