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Cpe Bach: Harpsichord Concerto, Flute Quartets / Koopman

Release Date: 11/04/2008 
Label:  Philips   Catalog #: 416615   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach
Performer:  Ton KoopmanWiel PeetersRichte Van der MeerWilbert Hazelzet
Conductor:  Ton Koopman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 56 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is the second recording of C. P. E. Bach's late quartets, Wq93-5, to have come my way in the past three months or so; but the Concerto in A major, Wq29, has not appeared in these pages for a long while. The last recording I can remember was issued on the Arion label during the mid-1970s. It's an attractive work, full of vitality and technically demanding for the solo harpsichordist.

Ton Koopman and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra give a fine account of it. The somewhat quirky character of Bach's writing, the spiky tuttis and the illusory quality of improvisation emanating from the music suit Koopman's ebullient personality rather well. The outer movements are wonderfully energetic and Koopman's own crisp articulation and
Read more well-turned phrases are admirably complemented by the vigorous support of the string tuttis. These provide a vivid contrast with the darkly coloured Largo, where the harpsichord is accompanied by muted strings. There are striking tonal contrasts here, too, with Koopman's remarkably bright-sounding instrument against the soft and sombre sonority of the strings, which inhabit the middle and lower territory of their range for the most part.

Whilst the Concerto dates from the early 1750s, the three quartets for flute, viola, cello and keyboard belong to 1788, the last year of Bach's life. I am sorry that Koopman prefers a harpsichord to a fortepiano since, although Bach did not specify a type of instrument for these pieces, there are features of the music which suggest that perhaps a piano was uppermost in his mind. 1788 is a very advanced year in history for elaborate solo harpsichord writing. Even the last great representatives of the French school had virtually ceased composing for the instrument by then and the keyboard parts of these quartets strike me as having been conceived in an idiom more naturally suited to a fortepiano. Having said that, I find the performances themselves delightful. Koopman's harpsichord playing is delicate and infectiously rhythmic and he is sensitively partnered by a particularly fine group of players. The flautist, Wilbert Hazelzet is well known to readers of these pages for his outstandingly sensitive and warm interpretations of baroque repertoire; his flute playing here is all that we might expect, and more, for he has penetrated the elusive world of Empfindsamkeit in a most affecting manner. Viola and cello, the remaining two instruments of the ensemble, are also first rate. In short, this is chamber playing of a high order and I need not hesitate to give the recital a wholehearted recommendation. It is beautifully recorded.'

-- Nicholas Anderson, Gramophone [12/1987]
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Harpsichord in A major, Wq 29/H 437 by Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach
Performer:  Ton Koopman (Harpsichord)
Conductor:  Ton Koopman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1753; Berlin, Germany 
Quartet for Flute, Viola, Cello and Harpsichord in A minor, Wq 93/H 537 by Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach
Performer:  Wiel Peeters (Viola), Richte Van der Meer (Cello), Ton Koopman (Harpsichord),
Wilbert Hazelzet (Flute)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Hamburg, Germany 
Quartet for Flute, Viola, Cello and Harpsichord in D major, Wq 94/H 538 by Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach
Performer:  Ton Koopman (Harpsichord), Wilbert Hazelzet (Flute), Wiel Peeters (Viola),
Richte Van der Meer (Cello)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Hamburg, Germany 
Quartet for Flute, Viola, Cello and Harpsichord in G major, Wq 95/H 539 by Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach
Performer:  Wilbert Hazelzet (Flute), Richte Van der Meer (Cello), Ton Koopman (Harpsichord),
Wiel Peeters (Viola)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Hamburg, Germany 

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