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C.P.E. Bach: 8 Symphonies, 3 Quartets

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Performer: Nicholas McGegan, Catherine Mackintosh, Anthony Pleeth
  • Orchestra: Academy of Ancient Music
  • Conductor: Christopher Hogwood
  • Composer: Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
  • Audio CD (1 Oct. 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B0000042HP
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 286,807 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Symphony No. 1 In G Major, H657: I. Allegro di molto
  2. Symphony No. 1 In G Major, H657: II. Poco adagio
  3. Symphony No. 1 In G Major, H657: III. Presto
  4. Symphony No. 2 In B Flat Major, H658: I. Allegro di molto
  5. Symphony No. 2 In B Flat Major, H658: II. Poco adagio
  6. Symphony No. 2 In B Flat Major, H658: III. Presto
  7. Symphony No. 3 In C Major, H659: I. Allegro assai
  8. Symphony No. 3 In C Major, H659: II. Adagio
  9. Symphony No. 3 In C Major, H659: III. Allegretto
  10. Symphony No. 4 In A Major, H660: I. Allegro a ma non troppo
  11. Symphony No. 4 In A Major, H660: II. Largo ed innocentemente
  12. Symphony No. 4 In A Major, H660: III. Allegro Assai
  13. Symphony No. 5 In B Minor, H661: I. Allegretto
  14. Symphony No. 5 In B Minor, H661: II. Larghetto
  15. Symphony No. 5 In B Minor, H661: III. Presto
  16. Symphony No. 6 In E Major, H 662: I. Allegro di molto
  17. Symphony No. 6 In E Major, H 662: II. Poco andante
  18. Symphony No. 6 In E Major, H 662: III. Allegro spiritoso

Disc: 2

  1. Symphony C Major, Wq 174, H649: I. Allegro assai
  2. Symphony C Major, Wq 174, H649: II. Andante
  3. Symphony C Major, Wq 174, H649: III. Allegro
  4. Symphony D Major, Wq 176, H651: I. Allegro assai
  5. Symphony D Major, Wq 176, H651: II. Andante
  6. Symphony D Major, Wq 176, H651: III. Presto
  7. Quartet In A Minor, Wq 93, H537: I. Andantino
  8. Quartet In A Minor, Wq 93, H537: II. Largo e sostenuto
  9. Quartet In A Minor, Wq 93, H537: III. Allegro assai
  10. Quartet In D Major, Wq 94, H538: I. Allegretto
  11. Quartet In D Major, Wq 94, H538: II Sehr langsam und ausgehalten
  12. Quartet In D Major, Wq 94, H538: III Allegro di molto
  13. Fantasy In C Major, Wq 59-6, H284
  14. Quartet In G Major, Wq 95, H539: I. Allegretto
  15. Quartet In G Major, Wq 95, H539: II. Adagio
  16. Quartet In G Major, Wq 95, H539: III. Presto

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Marcia TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 Jun. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a magnificent CD release. Here once again the excellent Academy of Ancient Music with Christopher Hogwood have come up trumps with a special programme that offers attention to a composer that has often been over shadowed by his father.
There are two discs in this set. Beginning with the earliest compositions we must look at Disc two which begins with two symphonies H649 and H6451 These symphonies are both three movements in length and written during Bach's time in Berlin. Bach had served Frederick the Great for 30 years and had experienced much constrain on his ability to embrace new ideas. Both symphonies serve very well indeed with its strict form and tone colour. They are very pleasant to engage with.
In 1768 Bach managed to move to Hamburg where he was able to have freedom to compose with audacity. The result is the completely fabulous Hamburg Symphonies
The six symphonies associated with the composers period at Hamburg H657-62 (Disc One) are very exciting and are at least equal to symphonies by Haydn at that time. These symphonies for strings are very forceful. There are great chord shifts that shock the listener through highs and lows. There are great hints of early romanticism in these works and they are most inspirational. Each symphony has progressed to four movements.
It is also clear that Bach and Haydn had respect for each other. And the further tracks on disc two : Quartets H537-39 for keyboard, flute, viola and bass show similar stylisation between the string quartets of both composers. And there is no doubt that Fantasy in C major H284 would have been familiar to Haydn too.

This is a great release that offers much insight into C.P.E Bach by combining Symphonies with chamber works all on one release.
The analogue to Digital remaster sound is excellent and there is superb balance and clarity. The Acadamy of Ancient music with Christopher Hogwood are on fine form on this outstanding recording.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
C.P.E. Bach at his quirky, exhilirating best, performed with all due brio; fresh, effervescent, this is ideal music morning music, to feel truly and gladly awake.
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By ralph on 9 Nov. 2010
Format: Audio CD
Never mind CPE being a percurser of him and him, until Clara. Here you have Carl Philipp Emanuel all by his great himself interpreted by excellent musicians. The only minus from a 5 star is the rather flat remastering of the symphonies. I wish I had bought the vinyl at the time.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x91051d80) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x90f1a7e0) out of 5 stars Amazing music and very fine performances 22 Dec. 2008
By Laraine A. Barker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I became acquainted with the six wonderful, wayward "Hamburg" symphonies of H657-62, Wq182, on a CD (or more probably two CDs; but it's a long time ago) borrowed from the Auckland Public Library. The orchestra was the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra but I can't remember who the conductor was. However, when I came to buy the music I chose this recording and I was not disappointed. Hogwood by and large lets the music speak for itself. Its sometimes jerky waywardness doesn't need emphasising as is the case on the English Concert recording. One could almost imagine CPE being teleported to the 20th century and on return to his own times immediately sitting down to write using some of the features of modern music but rejecting anything ugly. These symphonies really are unlike anything composed in the eighteenth century. They are nothing like Mozart or Haydn. By the same token, they aren't anything like 19th century music either. Despite their weirdness they could come only from the eighteenth century. And they are just as enchanting in their own way as Mozart and Haydn. Every time I listen to this CD set I ask myself where did CPE get his inspiration?

The two symphonies that start the second CD are not quite as strange as those on the first disc, but they still couldn't be by anyone but CPE. Listening to the first movement of the first one, I wonder if CPE was actually the inspiration for some of Haydn's positively frenetic allegros.

The quartets for flute, fortepiano, viola and cello that complete the two CDs are charming works. I agree it's rather unusual for chamber music to share a CD with orchestral works but perhaps it will win more admirers for chamber music. I personally prefer chamber music to orchestral, but most people are the other way round and many positively dislike chamber music. I've never been able to understand their explanations, when pressed, of "thin sound". They might as well say they don't like the song of a single blackbird but only prefer birds singing in chorus because a single blackbird has a "thin sound"!

Track number one, CD 1, does end rather abruptly and I suspect the reviewer who points it out is correct in claiming that four seconds are missing. As for the glitch between the first movement of symphony No. 3 and its adagio, I think we may have the same problem here, but I do seem to recall that the end of the first movement plunged straight into the adagio. They are, I agree, unacceptable defects, but I'm not taking points off the performance because of this. It's not the musicians' fault. I doubt they were given a complete hearing of the final edited recording.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x90f1a834) out of 5 stars A much-imitated 18th-Century composer 28 April 2005
By Tom Leoni - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach - son of Johann Sebastian - is a composer about whom we hear little today, although in the 18th Century he was one of the most influential, successful and imitated musicians in Europe. Praised by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven as a head-figure, he is generally associated with the musical equivalent of literature's Sturm Und Drang current.

This CD of CPE Bach's music is made up of two main components: the orchestral syphonies and the intimate chamber music.

CPE Bach's biggest issue vis a vis today's listener is that he matured smack between the Baroque and the Classical era. This is typified by his symphonies. The symphonies are played with passion and dynamism by the Academy of Ancient Music, but modern listeners may compare them to more mature, chronologically adjacent styles - the orchestral music of his father (earlier) and Haydn's symphonies (later). Although CPE Bach's orchestral language for his time was cutting edge, the modern ear cannot quite place it - is he late-Baroque or early Classical? Although this comparison is unfairly anachronistic, listeners who are not 18th-Century music buffs may find themselves a little displaced.

The chamber music is a totally different proposition. In a sense, CPE Bach's style is perfect for this intimate genre, which he undoubtedly brought to a level of maturity in some regards unsurpassed. His style is extremely expressive - oftentimes, he places a dynamic mark (pianissimo, piano, forte, etc.) under every note in a line, while his phrasing is very crisp, with the instrumental "vowels" and the "consonants" clearly articulated by a very meticulous use of the legato and staccato. Phrases are often short and nervous, with pithy melodic cells that develop in unexpected ways; pauses and silence are equally important in this style as notes and sound.

The sound of the fortepiano is complemented by the other instruments that "sing" in an equally expressive way. The viola of the excellent Catherine McIntosh and the flute of McGegan flutter in a wonderful way - sometime in parallel thirds and sixths, sometimes alone, sometimes in "concert" over the whole range, supported by the cello.

A fine treat is the Fantasia in C Major, masterfully played by Hogwood. This piece is part of CPE Bach's monumental opus for solo keyboard, the collection of sonatas, rondos and fantasias "For professionals and amateurs." In many ways, this piece is a manifesto to CPE Bach's aesthetics, and Hogwood does it full justice.

Why did I give it only four stars? Because I think that the melange of orchestral pieces and chamber music smacks a little of a "compilation." I would have rather had two CDs or CD sets - one with orchestral music, the other with all chamber music. Still, I may be being a little too picky. This is a recording that I recommend for both the choice of music and how it is performed.
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x90f1ac6c) out of 5 stars CPE is OK 9 Aug. 2000
By Jonathan J. Casey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The symphonies here are great, flirting in that galant/rococco way between classical and baroque, but they really are something else entirely. The performances are very energetic and tight...not bad sounding at all for early AAM. I'm not sure about the glitches mentioned below, but my main difficulty with this set are the quartets. Something about the sound is too harsh, and despite the usual caliber of the performers (McGegan on flute!) there's something lacking. Koopman's version of these are much more soulful, but alas, no longer available. Hogwood does a pretty good job on the C major fantasy but I find the work itself annoying.
Worth it for the symphonies, which are exciting but underheard. Certainly a good value, and until Koopman gets reissued (don't hold your breath) the only period performance available.
HASH(0x90f1d054) out of 5 stars Music and performance is very fine, remaster quality is just okay. 31 July 2015
By Matt-Man - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I had considered another recording of these works but was swayed by an Amazon review who felt that this Christopher Hogwood disc was better. Having only listened to short clips of the first choice I took a chance that the performances on this CD would be what I was looking for. As a fan of CPE Bach's music in general and his orchestral works specifically I have to admit that I do really enjoy this recording, so much so that I listen to random tracks a handful of times every week and I've owned my copy for nearly a month now.

What make CPE's music so vibrant and fresh to my 20th/21st century ears is that the music can turn on a dime in terms of mood. Sometimes to startling effect but it's the unexpectedness that makes this music worth hearing. I like the tempos and all the other technical and musical aspects of the playing on these discs. I do agree that there is a "crystalline" sheen to the overall EQ of the CD, but nothing that can't be adjusted for and smoothed out a bit on home playback if treble and bass controls are available. While I do prefer "warmer" sounding strings the dominant highs in the sound do not make me dislike the album. The lively playing keep me coming back to this CD often.
7 of 29 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x90f1afe4) out of 5 stars Poor Recording 7 Mar. 2000
By mark estrada - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The sound itself is just fine. A little treblely and loud but other than that the sound is pretty good for a ADD. I would very much recommend this cd if it were not for a couple of things. One of the movements ends with 4 seconds cut-off of it. Another movement has a glitch between the transition into the slow movement. Both on cd #1. Too bad because, I'm pretty convinced it was caused in the studio.
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