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CPE Bach: Flute Sonatas (Light and Darkness)

Manuel Granatiero (flute), Marco Ceccato (cello), Yu Yashima (harpsichord); Accademia Ottoboni (Arcana)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

CPE Bach
Flute Sonatas – H505, 542.5, 551, 555 & 562
Manuel Granatiero (flute), Marco Ceccato (cello), Yu Yashima (harpsichord); Accademia Ottoboni
Arcana A537   64:54 mins


Only one of CPE Bach’s flute sonatas was published in his lifetime – the solo A minor, H562 – although some 17 are attributed to him, five of which are included on this recording from period instrument ensemble, Accademia Ottoboni. Each varies in its response – always idiosyncratic – to the fashionable mores of the time, to which Bach seemed wilfully resistant. His style, the ‘Empfindsamer Stil’, was all about an appeal to the emotions, an emotive stop-off en route between the Baroque and the Classical, captured here with evocative skill by cellist Marco Ceccato, flautist Manuel Granatiero and harpischordist Yu Yashima.

The A minor, H562 is a case in point, artfully played here by Granatiero on a traverso flute based on an 18th-century original, with its surprisingly modern-sounding slow movement delicately picked over like a ballet dancer en pointe. Bach’s evolving styles are clearly evident, each sonata with its unique character, brilliant or mournful, light or dark, exploited maximally by the Ottoboni cohort in the various combinations of flute, basso continuo and harpsichord.

The playing is superb, as is the increasing versatility of the flute, each sonata played on a different instrument based on one from the period. The D major for flute and obbligato harpsichord is a case in point, the Largo expressively played on both instruments, Granatiero showing the flute’s expressivity and range that clearly captured the musical imagination of Bach. Elsewhere the G minor has its own particular sound, played with attentive virtuosity by Yashima and Granatiero, the brief Adagio a lovely interlude before the busy Allegro finale. A fine recording quality underlines the resonance and subtlety of sound.


Sarah Urwin Jones