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C.P.E. Bach: Sonatas For Keyboard & Violin

C.P.E. Bach: Sonatas For Keyboard & Violin

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The Baroque dream team of Rachel Podger and Kristian Bezuidenhout interpret the astonishing music of C.P.E. Bach’s Violin Sonatas in C Minor, B Minor, D Major and G Minor. The two early sonatas here from the 1730s resemble the older style of his father. Listening to these works, you can imagine J.S. Bach glancing over Emanuel's shoulders while he wrote them as a teenager at home in Leipzig. The later sonatas, written 30 to 50 years later, reveal an emancipated composer whose developed musical language embodies the 'Empfindsamer Stil', the directly emotional and rhetorical style characteristic of northern-german music of the time.

Rachel Podger writes: “It was wonderful to delve into the specific musical world that belongs to C.P.E. Bach for this recording with Kris. These violin sonatas are (quite unfortunately!) largely overshadowed by the classical Viennese sonatas of Mozart and Beethoven. Part of his genius is that he is full of surprises and unpredictable turns, and this was hugely enjoyable for me during the musical partnership with the wonderful Kristian Bezuidenhout.”

REVIEWS:

Rachel Podger and Kristian Bezuidenhout are performers of the highest level of technical polish, and I am especially impressed by Bezuidenhout’s imaginative and assertive pianism. Podger’s violin was built by the Genoese maker Antonio Pazarini (Pesarinius) in 1739. Excellent sound from Channel as usual.

-- American Record Guide

Across the later sonatas Kristian Bezuidenhout and Rachel Podger savor the qualities of coaxing, pleading, playfulness, and arresting quirkiness that signal their identification with the so-called Empfindsamer Stil. But nothing is ever cut and dried. The keyboard opening of the B minor Sonata, composed some three decades after its G minor cousin, sounds like a throwback to the teenage work. And, rich in Empfindsamer fingerprints, the Arioso with five variations proves to be a 1780 respray of an earlier work.

At one level, Bezuidenhout and Podger help to pinpoint the chronology, allotting a handsome-sounding copy of an 1805 Walther fortepiano to the later works and a Taskin-inspired harpsichord to the products of the 1730s. It’s just one example of the thoughtfulness with which they approach a set of performances that are as equally persuasive in the bustling, youthful incisiveness of the G minor and D major Sonatas, as in the pristinely-paced, probingly expressive whimsy of the Arioso. Their music-making is infectiously spontaneous yet tellingly ‘considered’ – seamless rapport and impeccably-judged articulation delighting in a stream of illuminating felicities. CPE Bach’s free-spirited sonatas have surely found their free-spirited match.

-- BBC Music Magazine

This is how it’s done, my friends. A completely scrumptious new release from the queen of the Baroque violin, Rachel Podger. In partnership with keyboardist Kristian Bezuidenhout, Rachel gives to us a bit over an hour of completely entrancing music by the often underestimated Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714–1788), fifth child and second surviving son of Johann Sebastian Bach.

There should be nothing underestimated about these keyboard and violin sonatas. They are imaginative, innovative, sublime. Add to this the impeccable performances, with that breath of life Rachel delivers so well in all of her performances, the excellent partnership with Kristian Bezuidenhout, and the utterly delightful recording quality from Jared Sacks, and one has an album to savor again and again. It is a must listen recording.

There is pure joy in Podger's performances, one feels her connection with music, the composer, and her audience. Kristian Bezuidenhout is her perfect partner in these works, As with Podger, his playing is not tied to a metronome. He plays, as does she, with a degree of improvisational exploration that makes these works far more interesting than in many other hands.

Listening to them together, one feels their connection in this music. I was particularly struck by this in their excellent performance of the Sonata in C minor which fairly danced with barely contained energy in the final Presto movement – their timing together is exquisite.

The shift from harpsichord to fortepiano and back again adds great interest to the recital. With the change in instruments, the texture of the sound changes. The balance of the violin and the keyboard shifts. Hard to accomplish in a live performance, but a delightful gift across the breadth of this recording.

-- Paul Rushton of Positive Feedback

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    • UPC/Barcode: 723385415237
    • Item Number: CCSSA41523