CPE Bach - Complete Keyboard Variations | Brilliant Classics 95305

CPE Bach - Complete Keyboard Variations

Label: Brilliant Classics

Cat No: 95305

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 2

Genre: Instrumental

Release Date: 19th February 2016



Among the foremost contributions to the celebrations marking the 300th anniversary of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, most gifted musical son of JS Bach, was the compendious, 30CD Brilliant Classics edition (BC94640) which spanned his diverse output of orchestral, chamber, keyboard and vocal works, and to which the Italian fortepianist Andrea Coen contributed as a continuo player for a disc of chamber music and recorder concertos also issued separately (BC94864). His other recordings for the label include rarely recorded, extensive collections of music by Giustini (BC94021) and Telemann (BC94228) as well as sonatas with viola d’amore by Domenico Scarlatti (BC94242).

For his latest release Andrea Coen has turned to the eleven sets of keyboard variations which CPE Bach composed over a period of 45 years, centred round his service to the Court of Frederick the Great in the magnificent palace in Potsdam. The best known, thanks to its ubiquitous melody, is the La folia / Les folies d’Espagne set, but there are anonymous ariosi and Italian and German keyboard works from which CPE took ever‐inventive inspiration, indicating the cosmopolitan breadth of his interests, which is further illustrated by the variation sets themselves. They explore every facet of contemporary keyboard technique, including the developing style of legato on the fortepiano instruments newly developed by Gottfried Silbermann, the instrument‐maker most admired by CPE’s father – on this recording Coen plays a modern copy of a Silbermann model made by Kerstin Schwarz.

Dazzling runs and scales, hand‐crossing at speed, brief flourishes of contrapuntal intricacy, stately Andantes which often form the still centre of the variation sets: all are designed by CPE not to tax the brain but to give pleasure and demonstrate a musician’s skill. CPE’s contemporary Reichardt could justly remark of both his playing and his music that ‘he shows quite clearly the great knowledge of harmony and the immeasurable richness of rare and unusual turns of phrase that mark him as the greatest original genius.’

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