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J.s. & C.p.e. Bach: Harpsichord Concertos / Gustav Leonhardt


Release Date: 08/19/1997 
Label:  Sony Classical Seon Catalog #: 63188   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian BachCarl Philipp Emmanuel Bach
Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt
Conductor:  Gustav Leonhardt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 47 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


Bach’s D minor Harpsichord Concerto BWV 1052 stands as a landmark both in Bach’s own output and in the history of the keyboard concerto. While J.S. Bach is often given credit for “inventing” the keyboard concerto, the fact is that during the period when he was in charge of the Leipzig Collegium Musicum, two of his oldest sons (W.F and C.P.E.) were also involved both as performers and composers. C.P.E. Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto Wq. 1 was likely composed for the Collegium, and it is in any event exactly contemporaneous with the elder Bach’s works in the form. The invention, then, of the keyboard concerto was very much a family affair, and it is probably correct to say that the two sons were at least
Read more as responsible for this innovation as was their father.

BWV 1052 held a special place in the heart of C.P.E. Bach, who knew it intimately and made his own manuscript copy. This disc, featuring the younger Bach’s D minor Concerto, composed at Potsdam in 1748, offers a splendid opportunity to compare the music of father and son. J.S. Bach’s concerto begins with a famously compact ritornello full of pregnant musical figures, lasting only about fifteen seconds. C.P.E.’s ritornello lasts more than a minute, and is full of those dissonant jagged phrases alternating with more lyrical ideas typical of this composer particularly, and of the Sturm und Drang ethos more generally. It sounds decidedly more modern, but the fact is that both works are masterpieces and it’s a joy to be able to hear them paired together.

Gustav Leonhardt recorded BWV 1052 at least three times, if not more, but this version from around 1981, featuring an unidentified string ensemble (The Cantus Germanicus Academica Anonymous?), remains perhaps his finest for the playing of the ensemble, the rich timbre of the harpsichord, and the warmth of the recorded sound. Leonhardt finds an especially natural, flowing pace in each movement, one that never turns mechanical. Hardly the most flamboyant of artists, he also doesn’t put on his monk’s robe of austerity here to the point where the music loses its natural brilliance. This is particularly important in the C.P.E. Bach concerto, with its strong contrasts between solo and orchestra.

This current reissue contains no notes, no recording information–in short, nothing but the disc. In fact, you’d be just as was well off downloading the performances for less money, but however you source them you owe it to yourself to listen, and listen often, to these two magnificent works as played here, so splendidly.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Harpsichord in D minor, BWV 1052 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt (Harpsichord)
Conductor:  Gustav Leonhardt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1738-1739; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 11/1981 
Venue:  Lutherse Kerk, Haarlem, Netherlands 
2.
Concerto for Harpsichord in D minor, Wq 23/H 427 by Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach
Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt (Harpsichord)
Conductor:  Gustav Leonhardt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1748; Berlin, Germany 
Date of Recording: 11/1981 
Venue:  Lutherse Kerk, Haarlem, Netherlands 

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