Surprising Music, Well Played
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Even though C. P. E. Bach was highly influential and counted among his admirers Haydn and Beethoven (not too slouchy!), his symphonies represent a kind of musical dead end. No composer after him followed his lead in producing what he thought of as music of "affect," but which I would rather think of as music of wit. But Bach's wit is not the genial, tongue-in-cheek wit of a Haydn; it's more the wit of the Metaphysical poets. Bach's language is one of strange and unexpected harmonies and melodic turns. In fact, as music critics have pointed out, he is the most adventurous composer harmonically before Schubert.And Bach's strangest, most striking music comes in these Hamburg Symphonies and the four so-called Orchestral Symphonies Wq 183. Unlike the later symphonies, however, the Wq 182 symphonies are scored not for winds and strings but for strings alone. In a way, this seems to enhance the lightening-quick play of wit, and I admire both sets almost equally.In this Naxos recording, everything seems to go right. The orchestra is highly responsive, zipping along with glee or exploring the melancholy music of Bach's slow movements with equal success. Christian Benda, a descendant of the 18th-century Czech composer Jiri Benda, is a fine conductor who understands the music of this period well. Add to the package a clear, resonant recording, and this is a find for lovers of the pre-Classical era."
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These symphonies are virtually unknown to most concert-goers. They are wonderfully fresh, charming works. One wonders why they are not more often performed!"
C.P.E. Bach: Hamburg Sinfonias Nos. 1-6
Bjorn Viberg | European Union | 04/23/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"C.P.E. Bach: Hamburg Sinfonias Nos. 1-6 is a recording by Naxos under the direction of Christian Benda and played by Capella Istropolitana. In the booklet we also get well-written linernotes by Allan Badley as well as short biographies of Christian Benda as well as Capella Istropolitana. CPE Bach's sound is very similair to that of both Haydn and Mozart and Mozart was influenced by CPE Bach. 5/5."