> Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach - The Solo Keyboard Music Vol.7 [KM]: Classical Reviews- March 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788)
The Solo Keyboard Music - Volume 7 [78.34]

Sonata in G major, W65/22 (H.56)
Sonata in A minor, W65/25 (H.61)
Sonata in F major, W62/8 (H.55)
Sonata in D minor, W65/23 (H.57)
Sonata in C major, W62/10 (H.59)
Miklós Spányi, clavichord
Rec: July 1999, House of the Lukijoki Youth Association, Finland.
BIS CD-1086 [78.34]


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Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was the most illustrious of Johann Sebastian Bach’s sons. His composing career was long and he was quite prolific, writing dozens of sonatas, concertos and other works. (According to Miklós Spányi, there are 52 keyboard concertos and 12 sonatinas, in addition to the many solo keyboard works.) This recording contains five sonatas for clavichord.

Miklós Spányi continues his monumental inventory of Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach’s solo keyboard music with another selection of five sonatas for clavichord, each in the standard three-movement sonata form. CPE Bach was a master of these works, infusing them with a great deal of melodic invention and a wide variety of tone and form. While the clavichord is by its very nature an intimate and discreet instrument, one can hear Bach’s genius here in the subtle chromatic melodies and joyous phrases.

Most of these works begin with a long first movement; in most cases this first movement is the longest movement of the work (all but the D minor sonata, where the first movement is about 30 seconds shorter than the third movement). Bach develops a wide palette of themes in these first movements, and Spányi plays them with a great deal of feeling. His clavichord on this recording has a beautiful sound (don’t forget, you should never play a clavichord recording too loud), and his ornamentation is always tasteful.

The middle movements of these works show the unique nature of the clavichord, and its muted resonance. Bach was probable the most prolific composer for this instrument, and perfected solo clavichord sonatas. The final movements, allegros, prestos and an allegro di molto, are more rhythmic and dance-like music, again displaying Bach’s wide range of compositional talent.

Yet another excellent volume of solo keyboard works adds to this monumental series by Miklós Spányi. CPE Bach is clearly the most important composer for this instrument, and the variety of music he wrote is an endless source of discovery.

Kirk McElhearn

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