Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Johann Christoph Friedrich BACH (1732-1795)
Concerto for keyboard, strings and bass in A (Warb YC 91 / BR JCFB C 30) [20:49]
Concerto for keyboard, strings and bass in E flat (Warb YC 90 / BR JCFB C 29) [18:58]
Johann Christian BACH (1735-1782)
Concerto for keyboard, 2 violins and bass in D, op. 13,2 (Warb C 63) [17:18]
Concerto for keyboard, 2 violins and bass in B flat, op. 13,4 (Warb C 65) [14:18]
The Music Collection (Susan Alexander-Max (fortepiano), Simon Standage, Nicolette Moonen (violin), Trevor Jones (viola), Jennifer Ward Clarke (cello))
rec. 6-8 March 2007, Weston Parish Church, Weston, Hertfordshire, UK. DDD
NAXOS 8.570474 [71:38]

Experience Classicsonline


In the 18th century two important developments in the realm of keyboard music took place. Firstly, the role of the keyboard in music for instrumental ensemble changed. Traditionally it was limited to playing the basso continuo. But during the first half of the 18th century composers began to write music in which the keyboard was given a concertante part. Johann Sebastian Bach was one of the first to do so in his harpsichord concertos and his sonatas for keyboard and violin. Secondly, the dominance of the harpsichord was broken around the middle of the century with the emergence of the fortepiano which had been developed around 1700 by Bartolomeo Cristofori.

It wasn't until the 1770s that the fortepiano was fully accepted as an alternative to the harpsichord. Most music for keyboard, whether solo or as part of an instrumental ensemble, could be played on harpsichord or fortepiano. That does not mean it doesn't matter which instrument is chosen. It is an established fact that Johann Christian Bach played the fortepiano in public concerts, and that makes it plausible to choose this instrument to perform the two concertos recorded here. They were written in the 1770s, and when Bach played them the fortepiano still wasn't a common instrument in England. In her liner notes Susan Alexander-Max writes that when Bach was playing the fortepiano in public, Muzio Clementi - who was to become a manufacturer of fortepianos - was still playing the harpsichord.

These two concertos are written in the galant idiom for which Johann Christian was famous. The melody is the most important part of these compositions. And as Bach always had a good feeling for what would go down well with his audience, the Concerto in B flat ends with an 'allegro con moto' which is based on the Scottish song 'The Yellow-haired Laddie'. It is notable that these concertos are scored for keyboard, two violins and cello, without a part for the viola. This strongly suggests a performance with one instrument per part, a practice which is followed here. The fortepiano isn't specified in the booklet. It is a nice-sounding instrument, but a table piano had probably been more appropriate, as the recording by David Owen Norris and Sonnerie shows ("The World's First Piano Concertos" - Avie AV0014).

The two other concertos on this disc were previously attributed to Johann Christian Bach as well. But recent research has revealed that they were written by his older brother Johann Christoph Friedrich, generally known as the Bückeburger Bach. They are quite different from Johann Christian's concertos. The scoring includes a part for viola, and the whole texture suggests a larger ensemble than one instrument per part. That doesn't mean that this 'minimalistic' scoring is historically wrong, just that a larger ensemble would give these concertos more impact. The fortepiano used here is more appropriate in these concertos than in Johann Christian's.

The two by Johann Christoph Friedrich are also different in their idiom. The slow movements bear the traces of the Empfindsamkeit. In both the strings play with mute, which was a very common phenomenon in solo concertos and symphonies from the middle of the 18th century. The fast movements have some of the nervousness of the Sturm und Drang. In both concertos the keyboard regularly plays drum basses, also a common feature of music from the mid-18th century.

The performances give a good idea of the character and quality of these keyboard concertos. Susan Alexander-Max plays with panache and verve in the fast movements, and exposes the expression in the slow movements quite well. The strings give good support - and that is exactly what their role is. The keyboard is in the centre of the proceedings, and that is reflected in the recording.

This disc is recommendable not only for the quality of the music but also for the performances. The oeuvre of these two sons of Johann Sebastian Bach is still underestimated. This CD could well serve to change that.

Johan van Veen

see also review by Tim Perry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.