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Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788)
Keyboard Sonatas - Volume 31
Sonata in C major, Wq. 55/1 (H244) [9:07]
Sonata in F major, Wq. 55/2 (H130) [19:07]
Sonata in B minor, Wq. 55/3 (H245) [8:43]
Sonata in F major, Wq. 55/5 (H243) [9:03]
Sonata in G major, Wq. 56/2 (H246) [12:09]
Sonata in F major, Wq. 56/4 (H269) [6:24]
Sonata in A major Wq. 56/6 (H270) [7:29]
Miklós Spányi (clavichord)
rec. Keizerszaal, Sint-Truiden, Belgium, July 2014
BIS BIS-2131 [73:23]

One would have thought that the three hundredth anniversary celebrations of the birth of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach in 2014 might have marked the end of the period of growth in the knowledge and understanding of his music, but no. Since the anniversary there have been some significant additions to the CD catalogue and these can only deepen our appreciation of J. S. Bach’s most talented son. The present disc is just the latest in that sequence.

It always amazes me with extensive collections such as this that we can get to volume 31 and still be introduced to music which remains vibrant and interesting, offering the listener something new, but that is the case here. The music presented here is taken from collections 1 and 2 of the sonatas ‘für Kenner und Liebhaber’, which had been composed separately and later published as a set.

All the sonatas on this disc are from the Wq 55 set. They are cast in three movements with the usual fast-slow-fast structure apart from the third, where the final movement is a moderately paced Cantabile. This provides an elegant and fitting ending to the sonata. In contrast, only the first sonata of the three from Wq 56 has this structure, the remaining pair having two movements. This is not the only difference between the sets, as it seems to be made up of a series of sonatas and rondos, none of which is included here. All the music presented here was composed between 1758 and 1780 and perfectly demonstrates the musical sensibilities of the period. It demonstrates why C P E Bach was held in such high regard at the time.

The small nature of the instrument means that it has been recorded closely. This has lead to the occasional sound of Spányi breathing. Whilst I don’t find that this affects my enjoyment of the music, I know that some may find it disturbing. Otherwise, this is yet another excellent recording in what is becoming one of the most valuable surveys of keyboard music by any composer from any period. Whilst I do not have as many of the discs in this series as I would like, I look forward to future releases and to investing in the ones I do not yet have.

Stuart Sillitoe



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