Bach, Wilhelm Friedemann: Das Orchesterwerk (Sinfonien F-Dur F 67, F-Dur F 88, d-moll F 65, D-Dur F 64, D-Dur F 91, G-Dur F 92, Suite g-moll BWV 1070)
Kammerorchester C.Ph.E. Bach
ausgezeichnet bei amazon.com mit 4 Sternen (von 5 möglichen)
BERLIN Classics 1098-2, 1993
Bach, Wilhelm Friedemann: Sinfonia F-Dur F 67 (Dissonanzen-Sinfonie)
Bach, Wilhelm Friedemann: Sinfonia F-Dur F 88 (zur Pfingstkantate "Ertönet, ihr seligen Völker")
Bach, Wilhelm Friedemann: Sinfonia d-moll F 65
Bach, Wilhelm Friedemann: Sinfonia D-Dur F 64 (zur Pfingstkantate "Dies ist der Tag" F 85)
Bach, Wilhelm Friedemann: Sinfonia D-Dur F 91 (zur Kantate zu Christi Himmelfahrt "Wo geht die Lebensreise hin")
Bach, Wilhelm Friedemann: Sinfonia G-Dur F 92 (zur Weihnachtskantate "O Wunder")
Bach, Wilhelm Friedemann: Suite g-moll BWV 1070 (W.F. Bach?)
Wilhelm Friedemann Bach was the first, and in many ways worst, of Bach's sons. A careless man, a thoughtless son, and a reckless composer, he ruined his career as a musician, lost dozens of his father's scores, and didn't take any better care of his own. This 1993 Berlin Classics disc features six of W.F. Bach's nine extant works bearing the title symphony. Two of them, the four-movement Sinfonia in F major and the two-movement Sinfonia in D minor, are independent orchestral symphonies in the early classical sense. The other four are orchestral movements excerpted from cantatas and thus symphonies only in the high Baroque sense. Closing the disc is a five-movement Suite in G minor that may or may not be by Bach, thereby demonstrating just how messy his catalog is.
Whatever their providence, all seven works here are given the deluxe treatment by Hartmut Haenchen and the Kammerorchester Carl Philipp Emanuel. A terrific, all-around conductor with excellent recordings of Mahler and Bruckner to his credit, Haenchen delivers a standout set of performances here. His tempos are brisk but not clipped, his textures crisp but not thin, and his rhythms strong but not heavy. Best of all, Haenchen grasps the uniqueness of W.F. Bach's appeal. The independent orchestral symphonies' quirky phrasing and odd structures are superbly articulated, and though the Christmas Cantata's horn-driven G major Sinfonia lacks the distinctive profile of the dolorous D minor Sinfonia and the dissonant F major Sinfonia, Haenchen is no less successful in granting the works their musical due. The Kammerorchester Carl Philipp Emanuel, despite being named for Wilhelm Friedemann's more responsible younger brother, provides stylish and attractive performances. With clean, clear but immediate sound, this disc will delight those who already know W.F. Bach's music and perhaps persuade those who don't.
www.allmusic.com, 05. August 2010
terrific music from a first rate orchestra
I was lucky enough to have listen to the CPE Bach kammerorchester in the Concerthall of amsterdam on the 12th of july 1999, and this made such a deep impression that since then I have become a great admirer of Hartmut Haenchen and his "team". They most absolutely bring this music alive. And seldom have I enjoyed classical music as much as then, so I can certainly recommend it to everyone.
www.amazon.com, 01. July 1999
(...) For Berlin Hartmut Haenchen leads his CPE Bach Chamber Orchestra in the four orchestral works, plus the single-movement sinfonias taken from three sacred cantatas - far more interesting pieces than the concerto that fills the space for Sony. The Berlin collection is a stunning testimony to Wilhelm Friedemann's talents, and the performances are marked by a vitality and intensity that Lamon and her group quite lack. They treat these pieces as conventional late-baroque fare, and even go to the extreme of assigning the suite to an ensemble of six players. Above all, their period-instrument colors produce a wooly fluff that sounds spineless against the clear, strong, direct, well-balanced modern-instrument timbres of Haenchen's excellent band. (...)
John W. Barker
American Record Guide, 01. September 1997
Ein aberwitziges Experiment, eine monumentale Farbenetüde (...) straffe Tempi und ein scharf gezeichnetes Klangbild (...) überzeugend auch im Klima und in der Diktion der Wiedergabe.
Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, 01. May 1996
The title, which suggests that we are here being given Wilhelm Friedemann Bach's complete orchestral output, is misleading. There are several other symphonies (of varying description) besides these. The composer's oeuvre is in a messy state, owing partly to his own rather loose and dissolute way of life and partly to World War II, and so the exact number of orchestral works he composed—and even the number that have survived—is far from certain. But we do have here the fullest sampling that has yet, to my knowledge, appeared on compact disc.
As applied to the works of W. F. Bach, the term “symphony“ (or “sinfonia“) means two distinct things: a free-standing, self-sufficient work in two or more movements; or a shorter work, usually just a single movement, written to open a cantata. Or perhaps the two meanings are not all that distinct, after all. Nos. 65 and 67 in Martin Falck's 1913 catalog of W. F. Bach's works are of the former, self-sufficient sort; Nos. 85, 91, and 92 originally functioned as cantata-openers. But what about No. 64? It has three movements and takes between nine and ten minutes to perform, but also seems to have been written to introduce a Pentecost cantata, Dies ist der Tag, da Jesu Leidenskraft auf unsre Seele fliesset, which bears the separate number 85 in Falck's catalog. For although the symphony exists, by itself, in a holograph score that once belonged to Beethoven's first biographer, Anton Schindler, there was once a combined set of autograph parts to the symphony and the cantata in the Musik-Bibliothek Peters at Leipzig. These are now, alas, lost. As Traugott Fedtke, most recent editor of the score of F. 64, notes in his preface:
It is quite remarkable that Bach used a sinfonia of three movements to precede a Pentecost cantata, if only for the amount of time it would take up during a church service. His other cantata introductions have only one movement. It is therefore highly likely if not certain that Bach, faced with a pressing deadline, turned to a three-movement piece that he had composed previously. Hence the sinfonia may well be performed independently of the cantata.
And what, pray tell, of the last piece on this disc, which bears the number BWV 1070? BWV 1066-69 are of course the four well-known Orchestral Suites (or “Overtures,“ as they are now sometimes called) by J. S. Bach. At one time it was thought that the G-Minor work might have been part of their group, but this view is now generally rejected.
So: what is this music like? Friedemann Bach is commonly said to have been the “most gifted“ of Bach's composer-sons. But the small size of his surviving output makes comparison with his two prolific brothers Carl Philipp Emanuel and Johann Christian difficult—if not impossible. While what I have heard of Friedemann's music is certainly accomplished, and seems to have a special charm of its own, I have always suspected that the application of the “most gifted“ label had more than a whiff of romanticism about it. Friedemann, after all, was a ne'er-do-well and apparently a drunk, a rebellious character who had trouble pleasing his employers and who died broke. This is the stuff of legend. Jazz is of course full of such legends. Until the appearance of the superb Sudhalter-Evans biography in 1974, the rather similar facts (and non-facts) of Bix Beider-becke's life led generations of jazz-lovers to distort the character of his very real greatness. Worse, the same sort of sentimentality led some older jazz musicians to claim that the unrecorded Emmett Hardy, who was born in the same year as Bix but died six years earlier, at age twenty-two to Bix's twenty-eight, was a greater cornetist than Bix.
The first movement of F. 67 begins as a double-dotted French Overture but keeps getting disrupted by contrasting faster sections; the Andante is delicate and mysterious; the third movement, which sounds for all the world like a finale, has some of the same delightfully conspiratorial quality as the Andante; surprisingly, the work concludes with a double minuet. F. 88 is the Pentecost cantata Ertönet, ihr seligen Völker, to which the little work included here forms the introduction. It is a gracious piece, in which a pair of oboes trade phrases with the strings. F. 65, though containing only two movements, is one of the “free-standing“ symphonies. The first movement is a grave, haunting Adagio, in which two flutes intertwine lines over the strings; the second movement, which uses some of the same material, is a vigorous fugue. F. 64, the three-movement cantata introduction discussed earlier, has a vigorous opening movement, a haunting slow movement, and a rather gay and active finale—yet all movements have something wistful about them that draws them together. In fact, as I listened and took notes, I found myself repeatedly having recourse to the word “wistful.“ Yet F. 91, written to introduce a cantata that celebrates Christ's resurrection (Wo geht die Lebensreise hin), is appropriately cheerful and bustling, filled with trumpet fanfares. Just so, F. 92, written for the Christmas cantata O Wunder, is appropriately dramatic. Whoever wrote BWV 1070, I'm sure it was not J. S. Bach, and the work has about it some of the same wistfulness
I found cropping up so often in the earlier pieces; so maybe it really is by Friedemann.
In any event, this is all interesting music, and it ought to be better known. The performances here are excellent, even better than those on the Cologne Chamber Orchestra disc that I reviewed in Fanfare 12:6—and that disc contained only F. 64, 65, and 67. So this new disc, which is also excellently recorded, is a must for anyone who wants to get closer to this rather mysterious composer.
Fanfare, 27. June 1994
Ein Bach-Sohn wird entdeckt
"Friedemann Bach ist zwar als mythenumwobene Figur jedem Musikliebhaber bekannt, aber seine Musik bleibt weitgehend unentdeckt. Der Grund hierfür liegt in der schlechten Überlieferung; die Werke des ältesten Bach-Sohnes wurden zu seinen Lebzeiten kaum gedruckt, und die handschriftlichen Manuskripte sind nur schwer lesbar. Hartmut Haenchen ließ sich von diesen Problemen nicht abschrecken und legt nun eine für das Repertoire wichtige CD mit Friedemann Bachs Orchesterwerk vor. Durchaus plausibel erscheint seine Argumentation, daß die Suite g-Moll, die zumeist dem vater Johann Sebastian zugescrieben wird, von Friedemann Bach stammt. So korrigiert diese CD das bestehende musikalische Geschichtsbild.
Doch auch die Interpretation setzt Maßstäbe. Das Spiel des Kammerorchesters ist schlank, flexibel und klangschön. Eine beeindruckende Klangmalerei verwirklichen die Musiker in der Sinfonia d-Moll, die romantische Züge aufweist. Die Gegensätze, die zium Teil hart und kühn wirkenden Dissonanzen in der F-Dur-Sinfonie, werden voller Spontaneität und mit geistvollem Witz hervorgehoben. Das Capriccio der g-Moll-Suite erscheint als eine gelungene Charakterstudie.
FONOFORUM, 01. May 1994
Hartmut Haenchen has laboured valiantly to reconstruct some of the music here from scores rendered almost indecipherable by damp (the example illustrated is horrific). The works illustrate a composer whose distinctive originality and vitality have been less generally recognized than those of his younger brother Carl Phlipp Emanuel, but who also inherited some of his illustrious father's contrapuntal skill. This is readily seen in the strange F88, the flow of whose stretto counterpoint is interrupted every so often by abrupt rhythmic outbursts, and even more in the long lively fugue of F65, which is preceded by a very fine mournful Adagio featuring two flutes. Friedemann's propensity for the wind is also exemplified in the cheerful F64 - prominent horns in the first movement, two flutesagain in the Andante - and F91, the sinfonia to an Ascension cantata with triumphant trumpets and oboes. The exuberant finale to F64 is a joy, as is the skittish Allegro of F67, whose opening Vivace is full of angularities and unexpected phrase-shapes. The chamber orchestra named after Friedemann's brother plays throughout with splendid alertness and brio: it imploys modern instruments, but with an awareness of eighteenth-century style - down to embellishing the G minor Suite once credited (however implausibly) to Johann Sebastian.
Gramophone (GB), 01. May 1994