This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
These six harpsichord concertos date from C. P. E. Bach's Hamburg period, the last part of his life; they were written in 1771 and published the following year. There is little to distinguish them from the earlier concertos in terms of general style. Here as usual are the fiery, wideranging themes, the dashes off into brilliant passage-work, the dramatic interruptions—all handled, perhaps, with a shade more assurance than in the earlier works but still as bold and as formidably original as he always was. In C. P. E. Bach's usual way, the movements tend to run into one another, offering him an extra opportunity for striking effects as one mood succeeds its predecessor without the more conventional composer's due notice. There are some other
formal peculiarities here, for example in No. 4 in C minor, where the first movement is in effect broken off while the second and third are heard, and then resumed; No. 2, similarly, alternates fast and slow music in its opening movement. I found myself enjoying the music rather more than I sometimes do with the wilful C. P. E.—the witty touches in the first movement of No. Sin G, the brilliance of No. 2 in D, the grandeur of the E flat. No. 3, and both here and in No. 1 in F the remarkably free, florid, improvisatory lines assigned to the soloist, The concertos are scored for strings, with horns in some of the quick movements and flutes in most of the slow ones.
These performances use a smallish orchestra, of 'authentic' instruments, and gain greatly by comparison with most existing C. P. E. Bach concerto discs for the lightness and the athleticism provided by the strings. Textures are bright and clear, the horns are sometimes very prominent, but I do not doubt that this fairly reproduces the balance of an eighteenth-century group. Bob van Asperen is a very brilliant soloist indeed, able to throw off the demanding passage-work with aplomb and even with enough time in hand to allow him to shape it to good effect; I specially admired his subtle timing in the expressive lines of the slow movements, for example, of Nos. I and 6. His crisp articulation and his neat, unfussy ornaments are a delight. Warmly recommended.
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