Spirited performances that entertain and amaze
RaabH | USA | 08/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There is a level of energy and panache here that at first takes one by surprise and then delights. Of the works included, J.C. Bach's two Symphonies are the real draw -- imaginatively scored, with effects and transitions that not only bring to mind Mozart and Haydn but early Beethoven as well. The Symphonie in E flat major begins the CD with a portentious Adagio followed by a bracing Allegro Molto and an Allegretto movement that is played almost entirely on pizzicatto strings ... something Tchaikovsky also did several decades (and two musical eras) later in the Scherzo of his Fourth Symphony. The Clavecin Concerto is equally enjoyable, served up strategically between the two Symphonies as a diverting second course. Considered together these pieces offer splendid testimony to the talents of Johann Sebastian's youngest son. At turns witty, stylish, and dramatic, this is music to return to often.
Coming at the end of the CD after the works of his brother, the Concerto for Flute by C.P.E. Bach sounds a little more standard and a bit less fun, although the performance is again first-rate. I just wish that Harmonia Mundi had seen fit to include another J.C. Bach Symphonie instead.
The Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin clearly enjoys playing this music and appreciates its vitality and spirit. I can't imagine better performances than these, and the recorded sound is outstanding. Currently the classical market includes many CDs of the music of J.C. Bach from the CPO label. I hope Harmonia Mundi will record more as well.
If you are a fan of the Classical (with a capital "C") symphony or concerto, this one's definitely for you."