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Decca Phase 4
Concertos by Bach and his Sons
Sebastian BACH (1685–1750)
Concerto in D minor for violin and oboe, BWV 1060 [13.32] (1, 2)
Carl Phillipp Emanuel
Double Concerto in E flat major, W47 (1788) [16.33] (3,
Johann Christian BACH (1735–1782)
Sinfonia Concertante in F major, T.VII/6 (1760s)
[10.50] (2, 5)
Wilhelm Friedemann BACH (1710–1784)
Double Concerto in E flat major, F46 (1750-60) [21.18]
Concerto in C minor, for 2 harpsichords, BWV 1062
(1736) [11.36] (7, 8)
Harnoncourt (violin) (1); Jurg Schaeftlein (oboe) (2);
Anneke Uittenbosch (harpsichord) (3); Jean Antonietti
(fortepiano) (4); Anner Bylsma (cello) (5);
Alan Curtis (harpsichord) (6); Gustav Leonhardt (harpsichord) (7); Eduard Muller
Concentus musicus Wien/Nikolaus Harnoncourt
DAS ALTE WERK 2564 694651 [78.08]
early period performance practice recordings rather show
their age. When new, discs were often perceived as the
ultimate in period style. We now realise that period practice
could be just as fashion bound as other styles of performance,
so that recordings from the 1960s and 1970s seem rather
dated. It is heartening, therefore, that this collection
wears its years well. The recordings sound far less dated
and fashion-bound than others from the period.
The disc opens with Johann Sebastian Bach's concerto for violin and oboe.
The concerto has survived only in Bach's later transcription for two
harpsichords. Alice Harnoncourt and Jurg Schaeftlin play a then new reconstruction
which seems to make sense of the original. The soloists, particularly
Harnoncourt's violin, are not overly spot-lit and the end result is more
appositely concerto grosso-like than some.
Phillipp Emanuel Bach's double concerto for harpsichord
and forte piano dates from 1788. This is a period when
the Hamburg-based composer had virtually given up concerto
writing, the market being dominated by Boccherini and Stamitz.
C.P.E. Bach treats the two solo instruments as equals,
each being handled in an identical balanced fashion. It
is therefore unfortunate that Jean Antonietti's fortepiano
is generally dominated by Anneke Uittenbosch's harpsichord.
The concerto is notable for some lovely flute playing from
Christian Bach's Sinfonia Concertante is from the early
1760s when he had just arrived in London. The work is written
for solo oboe (Jorg Schaeflin again) and cello (Anner Bylsma).
Structurally it owes something to the earlier concerto
grosso. But J.C. Bach adds an element of the galant style.
He also strengthens the orchestral role and structures
the solo parts so that they could be played by amateurs,
thus extending the work's audience.
is Wilhelm Friedemann Bach's double concerto for two harpsichords
written some time between 1750 and 1760. Here it is played
by Anneke Uittenbosch and Alan Curtis. The concerto opens
with a typically baroque texture, but then W.F. Bach moves
it into a more contemporary sound-world. Some commentators
have suggested that W.F. Bach is the only one of J.S. Bach's
sons to write works approaching his father's structural
density. What this CD shows is that all three sons represented
here were heavily indebted to the later, simpler style
and that even W.F. Bach's concerto does not approach the
density of one of his father's. This is underlined directly
by the final work on the disc, J.S. Bach's concerto in
D minor for two harpsichord. This is an arrangement of
an earlier concerto for two violins. And with Gustav Leonhardt
and Eduard Muller playing the solo lines, the concerto
makes a dazzling end to the disc.
playing is crisp and incisive, with some lovely rhythmic
lift. There are times, I must confess, when I found the
playing a little too overly incisive and I longed for a
little relaxation. Though brilliantly played, this is a
very serious disc.
CD booklet contains an informative article about the concertos,
but is frustratingly silent on the circumstances surrounding
its making, only bare dates are given for the recordings.
The ensemble seems to be made up of a combination of both
Concentus musicus Wien and the Gustav Leonhardt Consort,
though how this was undertaken is not mentioned.
you might find newer, better performances of J.S. Bach's
concertos, this assemblage with three of his sons' works
still makes for a delightful and instructive listening
Gerard Hoffnung CDs
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