Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788)
Concerto in E flat, for oboe, strings and continuo, Wq 165 [23:09]
Concerto in B, for oboe, strings and continuo, Wq 164 [23:39]
Johann Christian BACH (1735-1782)
*Concerto in F, for oboe, strings and continuo [22:31]
Burkhard Glaetzner (oboe)
Neues Bachisches Collegium Musicum Leipzig/Max Pommer
*Kammerorchester Berlin/Max Pommer
rec. Paul-Gerhardt-Kirche, Leipzig, 1985; *Christuskirche, Berlin, 1983. DDD?
PHOENIX EDITION 449 [69:19]
As the recording date suggests, this CD is a re-issue, originally published by Capriccio in 1987 and re-released in 2004 as part of their 12 CD 'CPE Bach Edition' of symphonies, concertos, keyboard music, flute sonatas and vocal music (C49367). Phoenix have in fact already re-issued most of the discs in that set this summer. They have focused on design: the booklets have attractive 'old school' covers, clean layouts and even a colour photo printed on the discs themselves. Admittedly the perfunctory liner-notes are nothing to write home about - the German originals are all right, if short, but the English translations contain a fair few typos - but generally speaking, the CDs create a good first impression.
Unfortunately the sloppiness of Capriccio's original engineering is still there. The trouble lies chiefly in the numerous audible editing joins dotted about the disc, often subtle but just as often not, centred particularly around solo cadenzas. There is an appalling one at the end of the slow movement of the JC Bach Concerto. How the producers imagined no one would notice is anyone's guess - although if Gramophone did in their October 1988 review, they chose not to mention it. Such a pity, because Johann Christian's writing for oboe - if it is his, which it may well not be! - is every bit as good as his brother Emanuel's. This work's presence on the disc, by the way, is not explained - or even mentioned - in the notes.
Sound quality is otherwise fairly good, although distant traffic rumble can be heard in quieter passages, as can the odd click, especially in the third movement of Emanuel's E flat Concerto, not to mention an occasional burst of conductor humming.
No fault can be attached to the musicians. Burkhard Glaetzner is a fine oboist with a beautifully warm tone, and the New Bach Collegium Musicum Leipzig under Max Pommer give good support. No - despite the excellent music, accomplished playing and appealing design, too many compromises have been made in the recording process for this disc to be considered by anyone who is short of money to burn. CPE Bach's Concerto in B does just about scrape home untainted by the shenanigans, but far more sensible to go elsewhere, such as Heinz Holliger's modern instrument re-mastering on Pentatone (PTC 5186128, 2008).
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Too many compromises to be considered by anyone who is short of money to burn.