Danny Driver proves a peerless guide to this fascinating music, performing with elegance and vigour. Hyperion presents a second volume of CPE Bach’s startlingly original and inventive keyboard sonatas. This release spans the composer’s career, taking the listener from the highly expressive manner of his early works to his mastery of the Classical style—in which he still retains the distinctive characteristics, the fantastical changes of mood and tempo which both astounded and perplexed his contemporaries.
Hyperion presents a second volume of CPE Bach’s startlingly original and inventive keyboard sonatas. This release spans the composer’s career, taking the listener from the highly expressive manner of his early works to his mastery of the Classical style—in which he still retains the distinctive characteristics, the fantastical changes of mood and tempo which both astounded and perplexed his contemporaries.
Danny Driver proves a peerless guide to this fascinating music, performing with elegance and vigour.
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714–1788), second son of Johann Sebastian, was both revered and criticized by his contemporaries for his bold departures from conventional modes of musical expression. He perfected a highly original and intensely personal compositional style known as the empfindsamer Stil (literally, the ‘sensitive style’). As the works on this recording show, Bach’s approach to musical expressiveness found voice in frequent mood changes, abundant rests and ‘sighing’ motifs, the juxtaposition of contrasting rhythmic figures, deceptive cadences, and dramatic, rhetorical harmonic interjections. Bach became particularly renowned for his ability to improvise fantasias—seemingly free-form, stream-of-consciousness flights of fancy …….
Jazz pianist Keith Jarrett has recorded Bach before, on both piano and harpsichord. His interpretations are not jazz versions of Bach but are played straight. In this case you might say relatively straight, for Bach's sonatas for violin and keyboard, BWV 1014-1019, were written for a harpsichord and are generally played that way; somehow the ear is jarred more by the piano here than in Bach's solo keyboard music (which Jarrett has also recorded). Jarrett fans will find the evidence of his characteristic style not in rhythmic inflections toward jazz but in his way of sustaining notes, which is never excessive.
Venetian composer Baldassare Galuppi’s reputation rests principally on his pioneering series of comic operas. But, trained by Antonio Lotti, Galuppi was also a keyboard player of distinction who served at the court of Catherine the Great in St Petersburg. Twelve keyboard sonatas were published during his lifetime, but Hedda Illy’s catalogue lists over 100 and reveals that Galuppi not only inherited the brilliance and panache of Domenico Scarlatti but anticipated the expressive writing of Mozart. The first volume in Matteo Napoli’s series (8.572263) was commended as “a good choice for connoisseurs of 18th century keyboard music.”
These three sonatas - composed originally for the viola da gamba and harpsichord - are very musically-appealing compositions. And unlike previous Baroque cahmber-music tradition, the harpsichord is not relegated to mere continuo but projected into the spotlight as co-soloist - perhaps to showcase some of Bach's keyboard virtuosity. There are several fine period recordings of these works on viola da gamba and harpsichord (Savall, Peri, Crum, Wispelwey) or modern cello with harpsichord (Ma, Tortelier). But if your taste favors all modern instuments (cello, piano), then this circa-80's CD by the legendary Martha Argerich and Misha Maisky is the ticket.