CPE Bach: Keyboard Sonatas

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LABELS: Metronome
WORKS: Keyboard Sonatas
PERFORMER: Carole Cerasi (harpsichord, fortepiano)
Besides his famous Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments, CPE Bach’s considerable reputation as a master of keyboard music is focused on several important published collections. This anthology of sonatas composed in the five decades from 1735 to 1783, that with one exception remained unpublished in Bach’s lifetime, offers a less familiar resumé of his extraordinarily varied career.


Carole Cerasi highlights the concerto character of the otherwise conventional E minor Sonata (Wq 65/5) with brilliance and panache. She also has the ideal temperament for the B flat major Sonata (Wq 65/20), projecting its experimental originality with striking boldness and spontaneity. Meanwhile, she reveals Bach’s absorption of the ‘sensibility’ style into the Baroque suite with tasteful delicacy in the E minor Sonata (Wq 62/12).


Cerasi contrasts Bach’s straightforward dynamic schemes in the harpsichord pieces with his increasing demand for dynamic and expressive complexity in three fortepiano sonatas. She beautifully gauges the music’s natural weight in the B flat major (Wq 65/44) and vividly delineates the C major’s extempore freedom (Allegro) and subtle impressionistic colours (Adagio). Her celebration of Bach’s full maturity in the G major Sonata – whose sweet arioso, dark-hued Adagio and dramatic closing Allegro anticipate Haydn – completes this revelatory programme.