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Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714 – 1788)
Mariví Blasco (soprano)
Yago Mahúgo (fortepiano)
Impetus Madrid Baroque Ensemble
rec. 2014, Santa Maria Church, Madrid
Sung texts with English translations enclosed

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was the fifth child and second surviving son of Johann Sebastian Bach. His list of compositions is truly extensive, with keyboard works, chamber music works and orchestral music. But besides that he also wrote quite a lot of vocal music, including passions, cantatas and motets but also around 180 songs and arias. On the present disc are sacred songs to texts by Christian Fürchtegott Gellert and Christoph Christian Sturm. The former poet is remembered at least for the six poems that Beethoven set and includes the often sung Die Ehre Gottes aus der Natur. That set was published in 1802 but almost 45 years before that C P E Bach set all 54 poems in 1758, the year after they were published. Only six of the songs are included here, and two of them, Bitten and Bußlied were also set by Beethoven, and it seems that Beethoven knew the Bach settings and was inspired by them. In fact they were very popular and were reprinted five times during Bach’s lifetime. The popularity also inspired Bach to compose more sacred songs, among them two volumes of Geistliche Gesänge mit Melodien, a total of 60 songs published in 1780-81 to texts by Sturm, of which we have seven on this disc. Considering that there are so many songs available it seems a bit strange that only 13 are included here and that those 13 are played again as fortepiano solos.

All right, those versions are worth hearing but it seems like a missed opportunity. The songs have considerable merits, even though they may vary in interest. The biggest problem when it comes to appreciating the music is, however, the singing. Mariví Blasco at times adopts a tone without vibrato – in line with some ideas on period performance practice – and then her intonation is fallible and she often sings under the note. She also on occasion produces a hooting sound that is quite unattractive. On the other hand, when employing ‘traditional’ but arguably unauthentic vibrato, her tone is warm and beautiful.

I wish I could have been more enthusiastic about this disc, since this repertoire is well worth exploring. Hopefully there will be a sequel one day that better lives up to expectations. Prospective buyers should listen before placing orders.

Göran Forsling

Selected songs from Geistliche Oden und und Lieder Wq 194:
No. 7 Prüfung am Abend [3:09]
No. 9 Bitten [2:35]
No. 15 Morgengesang [3:33]
No. 30 Trost der Erlösung [1:21]
No. 46 Bußlied [3:06]
No. 49 Wider den Übermut [1:46]
Selected songs from Geistliche Gesänge mit Melodien
Book 1 Wq 197:
No. 2 Passionslied [3:09]
No. 11 Weihnachtslied [3:00]
No. 13 Der Tag des Weltgerichts [4:51]
No. 29 Über die Finsterniss kurz vor dem Tode Jesu [2:34]
Book 2 Wq 198:
No. 12 Andenken an den Tod [2:35]
No. 17 Gott, der Ernährer der Menschen [1:58]
No. 29 Jesus in Gethsemane [4:42]
Remaining tracks are the same works but for fortepiano solo



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