The Solo Keyboard Music - Volume 22
Achtzehn Probe-Stücke in Sechs Sonaten: Sonata I, Wq63/1 (H70)
1. Allegretto tranquillamente [2:40]
2. Andante mŕ innocentemente [1:49]
3. Tempo di minuetto con tenerezza [2:21]
Achtzehn Probe-Stücke in Sechs Sonaten: Sonata II, Wq63/2 (H71)
4. Allegro con spirito [2:54]
5. Adagio sostenuto [2:56]
6. Presto [2:24]
Achtzehn Probe-Stücke in Sechs Sonaten: Sonata III, Wq63/3 (H72)
7. Poco allegro ma cantabile [4:50]
8. Andante lusingando [1:48]
9. Allegro [4:29]
Achtzehn Probe-Stücke in Sechs Sonaten: Sonata IV, Wq63/4 (H73)
10. Allegretto grazioso [4:15]
11. Largo maestoso [4:20]
12. Allegro siciliano e scherzando [2:57]
Achtzehn Probe-Stücke in Sechs Sonaten: Sonata V, Wq63/5 (H74)
13. Allegro di molto [1:43]
14. Adagio assai mesto e sostenuto [5:29]
15. Allegretto, arioso ed amoroso [4:33]
Achtzehn Probe-Stücke in Sechs Sonaten: Sonata VI, Wq63/6 (H75)
16. Allegro di molto [4:15]
17. Adagio affettuoso e sostenuto [5:08]
18. Fantasia: Allegro moderato – Largo – Allegro moderato [7:10]
I don't know what it is about Carl Philip Emmanuel Bach's keyboard
music that grabs me the way it does.
The Bis series is up to volume 22; I have each disc in the series,
and I've found that every one of them contains an hour or more
of pure enjoyment. Part of the pleasure may come from the fact
that I especially appreciate the smooth, subtle sound of the
clavichord, which Miklós Spányi plays on all but four of the
volumes so far; the others are on tangent piano or fortepiano.
There are too few Bach recordings on the clavichord available,
and anyone who appreciates this instrument will certainly be
attracted to this series.
But there's something else, about the music itself, that I find
entrancing. C.P.E. Bach's music is substantially different from
that of his father, Johann Sebastian Bach; it borders on the
classical period, is rarely contrapuntal, and often tells more
of a musical story. Each movement is a sort of conversation
in music, full of declarations, responses and silences. One
thing that differentiates this music from that of many other
composers is, in fact, the use of silence, of pauses, and Spányi
lets the silence speak. Since the clavichord has a very short
decay, the silences are weightier than they would be on, say,
a modern piano, or even on a harpsichord, where overtones ring
out for longer.
While the clavichord may be an acquired taste - it is a very
soft instrument, so one should listen to it at a low volume,
ideally on good headphones - the music itself is attractive
and enjoyable. I hesitate to say this, but it is even relaxing.
I would never suggest listening to specific classical works
to relax; while we all know that some music has that effect,
many classical labels use this as a marketing pitch. Listening
to this recording - as to the many others in the series - I
feel like a better person. A busy day can fade away as the music
carries me on a journey.
This volume contains music written to accompany Bach's Essay
on the True Manner of Playing Keyboard Instruments, published
in 1753. Composed for students, the music certainly doesn't
sound like mere practice pieces. While it may lack some of C.P.E.
Bach's signature quirky sound, which is more apparent in other
works, it ranks with some of his finest. Interestingly, he listed
these as 18 separate pieces, though they were later grouped
as six sonatas. The fact that the keys change within each "sonata"
suggests that they should, be listened to as studies rather
than as longer works. As the collection progresses, the pieces
become more elaborate. Spányi, in the liner-notes, says that
these pieces "are among the most substantial works in the
composer's entire keyboard oeuvre."
If you haven't heard any of the discs in this series, you could
pick up any of them, but volume 22 is a good place to start.
As I understand it, there will eventually be somewhere around
35 volumes altogether, so those who appreciate this music not
only have a nice amount of discs already, but can look forward
to many more. This is, in my opinion, one of the finest series
that Bis has recorded, and it is wonderful to hear new instalments
every few months.
Kirk McElhearn writes about more than just music on his blog
Downloads available from http://www.eclassical.com/