Concerto: Works for one & two harpsichords performed by Guillermo Brachetta and Menno van Delft

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COMPOSERS: CH or JG Graun,JS Bach,WF Bach
LABELS: Resonus
ALBUM TITLE: Concerto: Works for one & two harpsichords
WORKS: Concertos by JS Bach, WF Bach, CH or JG Graun
PERFORMER: Guillermo Brachetta, Menno van Delft (harpsichord)
CATALOGUE NO: RES 10189

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This disc offers a rewarding conspectus of concerto writing for solo keyboard and keyboards in mid-18th century Germany. Best known is JS Bach’s Italian Concerto, first published in 1735 and widely admired and circulated almost ever since. Johann Adolph Scheibe praised it to the skies four years later remarking that it deserved emulation by all great German composers and would be imitated in vain by foreigners. Guillermo Brachetta performs it with elegance and sophistication, allowing the continuous melody of its centrally placed Andante to sing out above the recurring bass patterns.

Brachetta is joined by Menno van Delft in Bach’s probably earlier version for two solo harpsichords of the Concerto in C, BWV 1061. The work is musically complete without the additional string parts which anyway Bach omitted from the middle movement. The first movement and the invigorating concluding Fuga are splendidly supple, clearly articulated and robust while in the intervening slow movement the artists realise its reflective character.

The Concertos by Bach’s eldest son Wilhelm Friedemann, and by Carl Heinrich or Johann Gottlieb Graun – the authorship of their instrumental music is often indeterminate – strike an altogether more forward-looking, early Classical note. Both are attractive, warmly expressive pieces, especially perhaps the Graun and their galant gestures are affectionately enlivened by Brachetta’s communicative musicianship. The booklet includes an informative essay by Nigel Simeone. 

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Nicholas Anderson