Cantatas of the Bach Family
CPE Bach: Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Stande, Wq. deest; Symphony In F major, Wq. Deest; JCF Bach: Pygmalion, Wf XVIII:5; JS Bach: Ich habe genug, BWV 82 (1747 version); WF Bach: Symphony in B flat major, F 71
Benjamin Appl (baritone); Berlin Baroque Soloists/Reinhard Goebel
Hanssler Classic HC19081 78:51 mins
Baritone Benjamin Appl returns to Bach for his latest recording, this time widening the remit to encompass the diverse musicality of the sons. The clean lines of the father are refracted in a musical hall of mirrors, from the myriad emotions of Johann Christoph Friedrich’s Pygmalion to the exaggerated dissonance of Wilhelm Friedemann’s Symphonie.
Appl, warm, intimate, colouring his voice just so, is at his superbly expressive best in the quasi-operatic drama of Pygmalion, with its wide emotional range, or the thrust of Carl Philipp Emanuel’s cantata ‘Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Stande’, which opens the recording. Invigorating and punchy, it is sung and played with great drive by Appl and the Berlin Baroque Soloists under the baton of Reinhard Goebel.
In between, there is buoyant, sculpted propulsion in the Symphony in F major for strings and basso continuo, recently attributed to CPE Bach – and you can hear it in the bones of the piece. It is one of two works given a world premiere recording here, the other being younger brother Wilhelm’s Symphony in B flat major, which is both robust and refined, without the gutsy sound of CPE, but pocked with interesting tonalities.
Appl returns to JS Bach for the finale, his sombre cantata Ich habe genug richly toned, although here, as elsewhere, Appl occasionally sounds a little overwhelmed by the orchestra and unsupported, vocally, which is the caveat to the whole. Indeed there’s something a little off about the balance and sound elsewhere on this recording, which does occasionally detract from this subtle juxtaposition of musical fashions evolving before our ears.
Sarah Urwin Jones