CPE Bach: Harpsichord Concerto in A minor, H403; Harpsichord Concerto in E flat, H404; Harpsichord Concerto in G, H405; Harpsichord Concerto in G, H406; Harpsichord Concerto in A, H410; Harpsichord Concerto in F, H415

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COMPOSERS: CPE Bach
LABELS: BIS
WORKS: Harpsichord Concerto in A minor, H403; Harpsichord Concerto in E flat, H404; Harpsichord Concerto in G, H405; Harpsichord Concerto in G, H406; Harpsichord Concerto in A, H410; Harpsichord Concerto in F, H415
PERFORMER: Miklós Spányi (harpsichord); Concerto Armonico
CATALOGUE NO: CD-707/8 DDD
A project by Miklós Spányi to record all of CPE Bach’s harpsichord concertos – some fifty in number – has got off to a promising start. Most of them were composed between 1740 and 1768, when Bach served as court harpsichordist to the music-loving Frederick the Great. Relations between Bach and his employer were often strained; yet the 28 years spent at Frederick’s residences in and around Berlin witnessed the development of a personal, highly individual style that reached full maturity during the composer’s Hamburg period between 1768 and his death twenty years later.

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Many of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s harpsichord concertos have never been previously recorded and, because Spányi is approaching them in something close to chronological order, we shall be able to chart aspects of creative growth and stylistic change in his music. Spányi himself is a wonderfully spontaneous player who wholeheartedly embraces those individual qualities in Bach’s music which lend it such distinction, and which contribute so richly to the north German aesthetic of Empfindsamkeit. This language of feeling, characterised by unexpected pauses, abrupt tempo changes, wide-leaping intervals, strong dynamic contrasts and surprising modulations, is often startlingly intense. It was Bach’s highly-charged response to the German Enlightenment and became the quintessence of his style. Nicholas Anderson