The year 2012 marks the tercentenary of the birth of Frederick the Great, whose political and military glory has often relegated his musical talent to the status of a mere hobby. But Frederick II was not only the key personality of Berlin musical life for the whole of the 18th century – as is shown by the works of the composers presented on this CD, all of whom worked at his court at some point in their careers – but also an excellent flautist who left posterity a number of fine flute sonatas from his own pen.
A portrait, on the tercentenary of the composer's birth, of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788), probably the most gifted of the sons of Johann Sebastian Bach. Highly admired in his own century by Haydn, Gluck and Mozart, he stands out today as a brilliant and highly original composer. For CPE Bach, music had to be an expression of personal feelings and to achieve his aim, he revolutionised the established principles of form, harmony and rhythm. The Trio Sonata 'Sanguineus und Melancholicus' is a rarity in the composer's output in that it is a quasi-programmatic work. It presents a conversation between one sanguine (first violin) and the other melancholic (second violin). The same duality is found throughout the recordings presented here, from the well-known Sinfonia No. 5 to the two brilliant cello concertos. Under the bow of cellist Ophélie Gaillard, at the head of the Pulcinella Orchestra, these pieces come as a revelation!
C.P.E. Bach would undoubtedly rejoice, were he alive, upon hearing this album of his cello concertos by Truls Mørk and Les Violons du Roy under the direction of Bernard Labadie. From the opening notes, one cannot help but feel the orchestra is fantastic. The A major Cello Concerto begins with vigor and liveliness, with the ensemble playing perfectly together in tempo with great spirit. Mørk plays just as well, with a clean, accurate, and somewhat light touch.
Avant garde. Eccentric. A maniac. Wild and adventurous. Off the wall. Extraordinary. No marketing hyperbole - this is how the players of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment describe Carl Philip Emmanuel Bach and his music. One of the many children of JS Bach, CPE Bach always lived in his father’s shadow, and now is an almost unknown figure at least beyond the classical cogniscenti. How can such an unknown be considered a gamechanger? A listen to his music reveals just why – it constantly shifts, wrongfooting the listener when they least expect it with wild changes of direction and colour – it is bright, effervescent, and is a fascinating link between the music of his father (and the Baroque era) and Joseph Haydn (and the Classical era).
The previous two CDs from pianist Michael Rische of the Piano Concertos of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach have been universally acclaimed for their high degree of musicality and the pianist’s passionate commitment to this composer. And in fact, much of the work of this highly original genius remains to be discovered. The 300th Birthday of Bach's second son offers an ideal occasion to become better acquainted with this extraordinary and surprising composer. In addition to the solo concertos, this CD also presents the Concerto for 2 Pianos and Orchestra Wq 46. In each work, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach makes the claim - once again – of his unique place in the history of music, and as evident in these vital, life-affirming performances, is one of the truly great “rediscovered” composers of the past.