Magazine article Gramophone

'The Bach Sons'

Magazine article Gramophone

'The Bach Sons'

Article excerpt

'The Bach Sons'

'Piano Concertos--Piano Pieces' CPE Bach Keyboard Concerto, Wq23 H427 (a). Solfeggio No 2. Wq117/2 H220. CPE Bachs Empfindungen, H300. Keyboard Piece, Wq117/1 H241. Keyboard Sonata, Wq49/1 H30 JC Bach Keyboard Concerto, T301/4 (a). Keyboard Sonata, Op 17 No 5 T342/1JCF Bach Keyboard Concerto, BR C30 (a). Allegretto con variazioni, 'Ah, vous dirai-je, maman', BE A45 JS Bach/Hess Jesu, joy of man's desiring WF Bach Keyboard Concerto, Fk41a. Keyboard Sonata, Fk9. Polonaise, Fk12/10 See Siang Wong pf

(a) Basle Chamber Orchestra / Yuki Kasai Deutsche Harmonia Mundi [C] [C] 88883 73463-2 045' * DDD)

On the face of it, this conspectus of keyboard works by JS Bach's most talented sons should help the uninitiated sort their WF from their JC and their CPE from their JCF. The sons--Wilhelm Friedemann and Carl Philipp Emanuel, and their younger half-siblings Johann Christoph Friedrich and Johann Christian --spanned two generations and drastically different musical outlooks. You wouldn't guess it, though, from the F minor Keyboard Concerto attributed to the youthful Johann Christian. The evidence for JC's authorship is slender; and listening blind to this nervily angular music, you might think you'd stumbled on a less-than-inspired piece of Carl Philipp Emanuel's. On a higher plane, the soulful Andante and explosive finale of JCF's A major Concerto sound like a tribute to CPE. Elsewhere the sons conform more or less to type: JCF in variations on 'Ah, vous dirai-je, maman' (aka 'Twinkle, twinkle, little star') that rival Mozart's in urbane inventiveness, JC in a shapely keyboard sonata, WF in an idiosyncratic mix of contrapuntal textures and galant gestures, often with an underlying restless melancholy. …

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