It's simply wonderful to hear this music played on C.P.E. Bach's preferred instrument: the piano. The high level of contrast embodied in all of his music, and most particularly the carefully indicated dynamics (as soloist Michael Rische points out in his booklet notes), are simply impossible to realize on the harpsichord--indeed, possibly on any of the instruments readily available in Bach's own time. In this sense he truly was forward-looking, and while there are some excellent recordings on period instruments (including BIS's ongoing complete edition), there's no question that the music comes to life more effectively on a modern piano.
The performances here are full of theRead more enthusiasm of a new discovery. The minor-key concertos are marked by many of those eruptive gestures that make Emmanuel Bach's music so distinctive: abrupt pauses, strongly accented rhythms, tangy dissonance, and huge intervallic leaps. Rische relishes the music's quirkiness without letting it fall apart into a series of disconnected fragments (another advantage, by the way, of using a modern instrument with its superior sustaining power). The Concerto in C major, for piano solo, is particularly remarkable--a virtuoso display piece full of arresting ideas, with a profound central Largo that Rische plays for all that it's worth.
The accompaniments by the Leipzigers under Morten Schuldt-Jensen are bold and gutsy, clearly influenced by period practice, but rather more timbrally appealing than the original-instrument norm these days. Hänssler has engineered it all beautifully, with natural balances and realistic tone quality. It's easy to understand why this music fell out of fashion given the evolution of the classical piano concerto in the hands of Mozart and Beethoven, but this is great music, and when performed sympathetically on modern instruments it sounds as fresh and new as the day it was written. It can stand toe to toe with anything that came later.
Concerto for Harpsichord in C minor, Wq 31/H 441by Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach Performer:
Michael Rische (Piano)
Leipzig Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical Written: 1753-1755; Berlin, Germany