Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788)
The Solo Keyboard Music - Vol. 24
Sonata in D major, Wq62/3 (H 22) [14:46]
Sonata in D minor, Wq62/4 (H 38) [17:12]
Sonata in E major, Wq62/5 (H 39) [18:59]
Sonata in B minor, Wq65/13 (H 32.5) [19:35]
Miklós Spányi (clavichord)
rec. February 2011, Keizersaal, Sint-Truiden, Belgium.
BIS CD-1764 [72:14]
As I’ve been following this series of C.P.E. Bach’s
solo keyboard music over the years, I’ve constantly been
amazed by the quality of his compositions, and the wide range
of styles that he used. BIS and Spányi cover music composed
over many decades, and this release happens to coincide with
the time that Bach married Johanna Maria Dannemann in 1744.
These works, written between 1740 and 1744, are from the time
that Bach worked for Crown Prince Frederick of Prussia, the
future Frederick the Great.
I find it interesting to compare C.P.E.’s music to that
of later composers such as Haydn and Mozart. When you listen
to Haydn’s works for keyboard, or even his symphonies,
they are made up of a number of small melodic phrases that are
developed and varied. With C.P.E. the music is like a discourse.
For example, the Allegretto of Sonata in D minor, Wq62/4 progresses
from an opening exposition through a series of developments
that sound as though the music were telling a story. Bach’s
music sounds extemporaneous, as though he were sitting at the
keyboard - here a clavichord - just riffing on some tunes he
thought up. His inventiveness and rhythm are unique, and all
of his music bears a certain feeling of individuality.
Many of his keyboard sonatas contain long movements that, on
this disc, are often 6 minutes or more; other keyboard sonatas
have movements that are more than ten minutes. Contrast that
with Johann Sebastian Bach, whose works generally have movements
that are 5 minutes or less, with some exceptions. In these long
movements, C.P.E. Bach is able to expand on his ideas and develop
them, and he never seems hurried, nor do these extended movements
sound like filler.
Take the first movement of Sonata in B minor, Wq65/13, at nearly
8 minutes long. Bach composed this, along with five other sonatas,
while taking a cure at the spa of Teplitz. The mere idea of
composing a half-dozen sonatas while taking a cure suggests
that Bach was not much for lazing around. Its use of hemiola
is somewhat different from his more “gallant” works,
showing that he was interested not only in attractive melodies,
but also in seeking out new forms and techniques.
As always, the recording quality is excellent. Spányi
plays an attractive clavichord and the sound is balanced and
With yet another wonderful disc of C.P.E. Bach’s keyboard
sonatas, Miklós Spányi continues his traversal
of this long and rich series of works. If you know and like
this music, you’ll probably want to get this latest release.
If not, this is as good a place as any to discover this music.
Kirk writes about more than just music on his blog Kirkville.