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Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788)
Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Wq.170 (H432) [25:23]
Cello Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Wq.171 (H436) [22:44]
Cello Concerto No. 3 in A major, Wq.172 (H439) [20:08]
Orquesta barroca de Sevilla/Christophe Coin (cello)
rec. 2014, Iglesia Conventual del Santuario de Nuestra Seņora de Loreto, Espartinas, Sevilla, Spain

As part of the three hundredth anniversary of the birth of C.P.E.Bach in 2014 a great deal of interest in the music of the composer was generated with a great many fine performances and recordings of his music taking place, and right at the end of his anniversary year this recording was made, my only question being why has it taken so long for it to come out. Part of the answer might be in the glut of wonderful recordings that arrived in the shops during 2014 and the subsequent few years, including the excellent Hyperion recording by Nicolas Altstaedt, Arcangelo and Jonathan Cohen directing from the harpsichord (CDA68112), which Brian Reinhart described in these pages as “one of those CDs that’s all too easy to recommend.”

The three concertos were composed between 1750 and 1753, the first two in Berlin and the last in Potsdam; there has been a great deal of conjecture regarding these concertos and their variants, which came first, the versions for cello, the versions for flute or the versions for keyboard. However, in his excellent booklet notes, Marc Vanscheeuwijck points to recent research which shows that the cello version was indeed the original, with those for flute or keyboard being arrangements made by the composer in later life. The question of cadenzas is broached upon in the notes, when it states that there are early 1778 manuscripts that contains cadenzas for each of the three slow movements along with the opening Allegro assai of the A minor Concerto, but no mention is made of who composed the others.

The performance is excellent throughout, with a feeling of real cooperation between Christophe Coin and the Orquesta barroca de Sevilla, something which is further reinforced by the accompanying DVD which contains studio performances of the three concertos. The sound is very good with the CD version having a more rounded sound where the bass is more prominent although not overpowering, Christophe Coin’s solo performance is also more detailed. In the DVD performance, the overall effect is lighter with the lower instruments placed at the back of the ensemble with Coin in the middle. Both the CD and DVD versions offer detailed and convincing performances. This is a performance to challenge the best of the rest and having the stylish DVD performance is a real boon, especially as this release comes at around the same price as the Altstaedt.

Stuart Sillitoe

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