CPE Bach: Organ Works

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

LABELS: Regent
WORKS: Organ works: Sonatas – in G minor, Wq 70/6; in F, Wq 70/3; in D, Wq 70/5; Fantasia and Fugue in C minor, Wq 119/7 etc
PERFORMER: Thomas Trotter (organ)


The sonatas at the core of Thomas Trotter’s programme have already been championed on disc by Marie-Claire Alain and Jacques van Oortmerssen. However, given the pertinence of the Mitterreither organ Trotter deploys, and his feeling for CPE Bach’s drama, idiosyncratic charm and playfulness, his latest release easily outshines his rivals. 

CPE’s output for organ is slender in more senses than one (his brother Wilhelm Friedemann was the most gifted inheritor of Johann Sebastian’s console prowess), but it’s far from negligible. The D minor Adagio sounds like an intermittently successful draft for the slow movement of one of Papa Bach’s organ trio sonatas.

Then there’s the C minor Fantasia and Fugue which leans on the harmonic daring celebrated in Johann Sebastian’s magnificent G minor specimen BWV 542: this is magisterially played, Trotter’s finger work urgent and purposeful in the counterpoint. And the little Fugue on B-A-C-H, sounding perky registered solely on a 4 foot flute, brandishes an elegant contrapuntal calling card. The sonatas, however, revel in the latest musical fashion, ‘galant’ Allegros abutting winsome slow movements trailing tasteful embellishments. 


Throughout, Trotter is supple in slow movements, scintillating in fast, and an adroit colourist, finding in Eton’s treasure trove of 18th-century pipework an essential and rewarding ally. Paul Riley