Notes and Editorial Reviews
C. P. E. BACH
Piano Concerto in a,
Wq. 26 H 430
Ana-Marija Markovina (pn); Federico Longo, cond; Berlin-Brandenburg CP
GENUIN 87097 (78:55)
Variations. Rondo Capriccioso.
Humoreske. Schlummerlied. Scherz und Spiel. Meistersinger-Paraphrase. Walküre-Paraphrase
Ana-Marija Markovina (pn)
GENUIN 87091 (59:59)
In the two programs here, pianist Ana-Marija Markovina has chosen some very interesting music, the first showing off some of the very best sonatas of J. S. Bach’s most influential son, C. P. E. Bach, the other displaying the almost unknown works of a composer known almost universally for his Lieder, Hugo Wolf.
Written for harpsichord, the sonatas of C. P. E. Bach, a highly original and innovative composer, have for too long remained in the shadows. Though sporadically there have been pianists who have come to this music—one thinks of Glenn Gould (Sony), Mikhail Pletnev (DG), and most recently Danny Driver (Hyperion)—there is far too much good music here to explain this mysterious neglect. His music can be dramatic; just listen to the beginning of the Andante to the very first Sonata in F, in which the simple and melodic
opening is suddenly interrupted by the highly charged recitative, marked
. At other times it’s whimsical and playful, as in the finale to the B?-Sonata. Throughout, Markovina relates this as highly personal music, adopting a rather free, even highly romantic sound in this music. She is a pianist and unabashedly so. The A-Minor Keyboard Concerto, one of about 50 that the composer wrote throughout his lifetime, shows off the dramatic side of the composer well: the use of dynamics as expressive, the harmonic twists and turns of phrase, the virtuosic and sequential passagework. Though at times the pianist’s sound is a bit tense, overall she seems to have mastered the techniques necessary for this music and has hopefully brought more interest to this extremely important, and perhaps more importantly, great music.
Hugo Wolf is not a name that comes across the lips of most pianists, except in the context of his highly demanding Lieder accompaniments. The pieces recorded here are all youthful works, composed roughly between the ages of 15 and 20. They are, as the program notes detail, works that are developmental in that they little resemble the Wolf of the later Lieder. They are for the most part charming works, from the simplicity of the Variations to the restrained drama of the Rondo Capriccioso. Of interest also are the Wagner paraphrases. In these works, lasting from around 12 minutes for the
to more than 20 for the one on
, Wolf encapsulates the entire drama of the operas in compositions that not only use the themes from the music dramas, but which highlight the tensions between these themes, almost re-creating the drama with music alone. Markovina is engaging in much of this music, perhaps the original early works more so than the paraphrases. Her light, thin sound works well in the
Scherz und Spiel
, while the opening of the Rondo Capriccioso, with its almost Mendelssohnian qualities, benefits even more from her crisp attacks. The lovely way she shapes the melodies and voices the inner parts in the Wagner are masterly; however there is a lack of inherent drama—the struggle, the intense characterization of themes, the relationships between motives is often underplayed.
Throughout these two recitals, Markovina highlights some wonderful music, which does not often get a chance to be heard. Both the Bach and the Wolf benefit from the attention to detail she brings to these scores, the obvious passion she has for this music, along with some very fine accompaniment from the Berlin-Brandenburg Chamber Philharmonic conducted by Federico Longo in the concerto, and the excellent sound engineering of her team at Genuin. The question now is, what other interesting repertoire will this pianist dig up for her next recording? I look forward to finding out soon.
FANFARE: Scott Noriega
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Harpsichord in A minor, Wq 26/H 430 by Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach
Ana-Marija Markovina (Piano)
Berlin Brandenburg Chamber Philharmonic
Written: 1750; Berlin, Germany
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