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C P E Bach: Sonatas & Rondos

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Product details

  • Composer: C. P. E. Bach
  • Audio CD (10 Aug 2010)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: DG
  • ASIN: B00005RCIU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 143,697 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Sonata In G Minor
2. Rondo In A Major
3. Sonata In C Minor
4. Sonata In D Major
5. Sonata In G Major
6. Rondo In C Minor
7. Sonata In E Minor
8. Antante Con Tenerezza

Product Description

Of the sons of J S Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel was by far the most interesting composer, as the Sonatas and Rondos played here by Mikhail Pletnev amply demonstrate. In 2001, Pletnev released an exhilarating CD of Scarlatti sonatas: the fact that he played them anachronistically on the piano was in no way allowed to interfere with their intrinsic spirit. Here he repeats the trick, employing plenty of pedal plus the full dynamic force of a modern concert grand, yet he somehow manages to create a quintessentially 18th-century atmosphere. And they're amazing pieces--it's a fair bet that this outstanding disc will help usher them into the mainstream repertoire where they belong. Bach wrote them for an audience of "connoisseurs and amateurs", but that audience must have been a very superior one: to label this style "pre-classical" is woefully to short-change it. Each work feels like a musico-intellectual exercise--an experiment, but riveting every step of the way. Here the spirits of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven are boldly prefigured, but in a uniquely flamboyant way: dazzling fantasia-like sections, delicately spring-heeled scherzi, massively grave adagios--a whole new musical landscape.--Michael Church

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 26 Dec 2005
Format: Audio CD
Mikhail Pletnev can be a maddening pianist in that he can be willful to a fault in some of his performances. For instance, I thought his Schumann disc was simply awful -- I will admit others disagree with that opinion -- although it was obvious he had thought about what he was doing; still it seemed self-indulgent and wayward.
In this collection of C.P.E Bach piano music, though, Pletnev's approach and the music at hand are a perfect match. The younger Bach's music is fanciful, if anything, and it caroms all over the place. That's one of the hallmarks of rococo music and C.P.E. is one of the torch-bearers for that style. The booklet writer talks about the music's 'bizarrerie' and that's a perfect word for it. I suspect this is so in Bach's music because he was trying to forge a new style at least partly in reaction to his father's mathematical precision. This is not 'pre-classical' music in the sense that it presages the style about to come to fruition with Haydn and Mozart. Rather, it is a side-street that probably had more influence on the Romantic period that came after those classical masters. Certainly Bach's tendency was to go where his emotions took him, rather than to force his music into forms that tradition dictated. However that may be, the music is delightful in its own idiosyncratic way and if one simply goes with it, wherever it leads, one is caught up in its emotionality.
Pletnev does this music proud. Indeed, I've not heard anyone approach him in piano music from this period. His virtuosity is breathtaking in the presto movements. There and elsewhere he seems to be innately in tune with the style (although, I imagine this is not so much innate as due to Pletnev's careful analysis of the music he's playing) and I quite enjoy the journey he takes us on.
This CD has brought me a great deal of pleasure over the months that I've owned it. I think it bids fair to do the same for just about anyone who hears it.
Scott Morrison
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By maximus TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Feb 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Having for many years not bothered to listen to any music from JS Bach's offspring, I recently started to discover some of the concerti by JC and CPE Bach, via mp3 downloads as I was interested particularly in early Classical Period viola and cello music. As a result of those purchases, my Amazon recommendations page prompted me to look at this CD and I took a chance on it based on some of the samples I listened to. I bought the full CD version as I wanted to have the booklet with notes etc. I was pretty sure it would be imaginative playing because I know Pletnev's performances (on CD) quite well, and also knowing that he recorded an excellent series of Scarlatti sonatas, which I enjoyed very much. So when I received this CPE Bach CD of Pletnev's and played it, I was not only reassured of my impulse buy, but I was delighted by the sheer depth and invention of the compositions. For someone who wrote sonatas pre-Mozart's great solo piano works, I was quite taken aback by the amount of "sturm und drang" that some of these CPE Bach keyboard works have, and their transfer from (presumably in Bach's days) harpsichord or early fortepiano to the modern Piano works extremely well because of the range and depth of the compositions.

One thing I am not sure about is the amount of rubato and wide dynamic changes and accents in quick succession, which may or may not be in the original editions and therefore occasionally I do wonder if I am listening to an idiosyncratic "Pletnev edition" or if in actual fact the interpretations are speaking for CPE Bach as opposed to for Pletnev. The rubati do sometimes feel like they are taking away from some of the works' natural momentum (especially the faster movements), but without examining all of the piano scores, I would not be able to tell for sure.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By E M Oge on 22 Nov 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I bought this disc after reading Scott Morrison's review with which, now, I can only agree. I already owned the Naxos album (8.557450) of C.P.E.Bach's Sonatas & Rondos played by Christopher Hinterhuber and was pleased to note that the only duplication between the two discs was of the Sonata in F sharp minor (of which I am particularly fond, anyway). That track provides an opportunity for comparison: on my equipment, the quality of the Pletnev recording sounds slightly superior but, while different, Hinterhuber's interpretation is no less pleasing.

If you like the Pletnev album and would like to hear some more of C.P.E.Bach's keyboard music I recommend the Hinterhuber album.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bernard Michael O'Hanlon on 30 Dec 2012
Format: Audio CD
Whenever I read that CPE Bach should be ranked with his Old Man - and similar claims are made of `human footnotes' such as Bononcini and Cavalli - I wonder whether Keith Richards is back in charge of the water supply with something more than fluoridation on the agenda.

To laugh.

Being 18th Century-centric as I am, I've listened to copious amounts of CPE over the years. To my mind, he represents the triumph of intelligence over talent where the latter is very much in the mix. In terms of their impact upon the listener, all of the great composers share the same motto as the Olympics: Citius, Altius, Fortius - Faster, Higher, Stronger. CPE's powers are fitful. He commands attention even if so little of it resonates as afterglow. Take this recital: other than a general impression of inventiveness, I am hard pressed to remember a single melody upon its closure. Is it really divisible into six sonatas and a few rondos? Which ones are more mature, chronology-wise? I can't tell. The twenty two tracks, sad to say, blend into one another like a procession of Klavierstücke. There are moments of beauty and consolation (such as 4'15ff in the slow movement of the F Sharp Minor) and cleverness (the finale of WQ 62/19). When it comes, however, to a work such as the Rondo in D Minor which Pletnev plays so masterfully, it is almost energy in search of a melody. Much the same could be said of the first movement of WQ 62/19 which borders dangerously on note-spinning.

All power to the Russian virtuoso, his Steinway and Deutsche Grammophon for championing this fine music to the imprecations of the Period Practice Taliban; the endeavour is so much more meritorious than recording another version of Chopin's mazurkas. It won't bring the rain but it will certainly make you think.
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