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Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: Six Sonatas, First Collection, Wq. 55 / Preethi de Silva

Bach,C.p.e. / De Silva,Preethi
Release Date: 09/24/2013 
Label:  Centaur Records   Catalog #: 3279   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach
Performer:  Preethi de Silva
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 17 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



C. P. E. BACH Keyboard Sonatas Nos. 1–6, Wq 55 Preethi de Silva (hpd, fp, clvd) CENTAUR 3279 (77:07)


This has certainly been a rich month for me to listen to the remarkable keyboard sonatas of C. P. E. Bach: first, the excellent set by Jocelyne Cuiller, then the sadly disappointing album by Miklós Spányi, and now this disc by de Silva. I could scarcely consider, before hearing it, that a Sri Lankan keyboardist could connect with the music of this composer, but Read more here it is and she is quite fine indeed. She does not employ the sort of rhetorical phrasing that one hears in Cuiller’s or Spányi’s playing in the First Sonata—her sense of rhythm is governed by quite regular metric divisions—but she certainly understands the way to phrase his quirky harmonic leaps and his unusual phrases and to present his music with charm and ebullience, and when one reaches the Second Sonata, played on a clavichord, the rhetorical phrasing is present.


I was particularly impressed with the rich and beautiful tone of de Silva’s fortepiano. This is not the usual mid-18th-century instrument that sounds like a cross between a clavichord and a xylophone, but a fine-sounding instrument with a remarkably piano-like tone and timbre. The liner notes indicate that it was built in 1990 but modeled after an instrument by Johan Schantz from about 1790—two years after C. P. E. died, but close enough. Here, too, one hears the quirky rhetorical phrasing that brings this music to life. Indeed, both the Second and Third sonatas in this set are, to my ears, almost in the nature of fantasias. With the Fourth Sonata, also played on fortepiano, de Silva is back to her straightforward style, the music rippling out from under her fingers like a very happy little brooklet of notes. She conveys not only the good nature of this music, but also its quirky humor: listen to how she makes the keyboard tremolos almost sound like laughter. In the next sonata, also on fortepiano, de Silva delights in the quirky pauses written into the music, again fully understanding how they are meant to sound. Only with the very last sonata on this disc (also played on fortepiano) does one feel somewhat in the world of Mozart, but not for long. By the time the second theme is introduced, we are in a different world, and in the development section C.P.E.’s strange off-kilter rhythms and unusual harmonic spikes make themselves felt and heard. De Silva has all of this under control; even her subtlest touch of rubato has you on the edge of your seat, wondering what comes next. Listen, for instance, to the abrupt key changes in the last movement of the Sixth Sonata, thrown in without modulation, or the way de Silva plays the overlaid cascades of notes here: that is quintessential C. P. E. Bach, so radically different from any other composer of his time. Small wonder he was hailed as “The Great Bach” when he died.


I cannot overstate just how fine this album is. On the front cover of the CD it says, “Six Collections of Sonatas, Free Fantasias and Rondos for Connoisseurs and Amateurs,” undoubtedly a title that Carl Philipp gave to these sets of pieces. On the back of the CD insert it says “First Collection (Leipzig 1779).” Does this portend a continuing series of C.P.E. by de Silva? Let us hope so!


FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sonata for Keyboard in C major, Wq 55 no 1/H 244 by Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach
Performer:  Preethi de Silva (Harpsichord)
Period: Classical 
Date of Recording: 10/1995 
Venue:  The Music Room, Cambridge, Mass. 
Length: 8 Minutes 32 Secs. 
2.
Sonata for keyboard in F major (Kenner I/2), H. 130, Wq. 55/2 by Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach
Performer:  Preethi de Silva (Clavichord)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1758 
Date of Recording: 08/1996 
Venue:  Studio Dufay, Leverett, Mass. 
Length: 18 Minutes 19 Secs. 
3.
Sonata for keyboard in B minor (Kenner & Liebhaber No. 3), H. 245, Wq. 55/3 by Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach
Performer:  Preethi de Silva (Fortepiano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1774 
Date of Recording: 08/1996 
Venue:  Studio Dufay, Leverett, Mass. 
Length: 7 Minutes 27 Secs. 
4.
Sonata for Keyboard in A major, Wq 55 no 4/H 186 by Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach
Performer:  Preethi de Silva (Fortepiano)
Period: Classical 
Date of Recording: 08/1996 
Venue:  Studio Dufay, Leverett, Mass. 
Length: 14 Minutes 51 Secs. 
5.
Sonata for Keyboard in F major, Wq 55 no 5/H 243 by Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach
Performer:  Preethi de Silva (Fortepiano)
Period: Classical 
Written: Berlin, Germany 
Date of Recording: 08/1996 
Venue:  Studio Dufay, Leverett, Mass. 
Length: 8 Minutes 32 Secs. 
6.
Sonata for keyboard in G major (Kenner I/6), H. 187, Wq. 55/6 by Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach
Performer:  Preethi de Silva (Fortepiano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1765 
Date of Recording: 08/1996 
Venue:  Studio Dufay, Leverett, Mass. 
Length: 18 Minutes 37 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Keyboard Sonata in C Major, Wq. 55/1, H. 244: I. Prestissimo
Keyboard Sonata in C Major, Wq. 55/1, H. 244: II. Andante
Keyboard Sonata in C Major, Wq. 55/1, H. 244: III. Allegretto
Keyboard Sonata in F Major, Wq. 55/2, H. 130: I. Andante
Keyboard Sonata in F Major, Wq. 55/2, H. 130: II. Larghetto
Keyboard Sonata in F Major, Wq. 55/2, H. 130: III. Allegro assai
Keyboard Sonata in B Minor, Wq. 55/3, H. 245 *: I. Allegretto
Keyboard Sonata in B Minor, Wq. 55/3, H. 245 *: II. Andante
Keyboard Sonata in B Minor, Wq. 55/3, H. 245 *: III. Cantabile
Keyboard Sonata in A Major, Wq. 55/4, H. 186: I. Allegro assai
Keyboard Sonata in A Major, Wq. 55/4, H. 186: II. Poco adagio
Keyboard Sonata in A Major, Wq. 55/4, H. 186: III. Allegro
Keyboard Sonata in F Major, Wq. 55/5, H. 243: I. Allegro
Keyboard Sonata in F Major, Wq. 55/5, H. 243: II. Adagio maestoso
Keyboard Sonata in F Major, Wq. 55/5, H. 243: III. Allegretto
Keyboard Sonata in G Major, Wq. 55/6, H. 187: I. Allegreto moderato
Keyboard Sonata in G Major, Wq. 55/6, H. 187: II. Andante
Keyboard Sonata in G Major, Wq. 55/6, H. 187: III. Allegro di molto

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