CDs / DVDs

Gramophone, S. 143, 01. November 1987
ONE of the most valuable current ventures of the gramophone has just been inaugurated by the Capriccio label and if it is successful it will undoubtedly put this (until now) small, but enterprising label firmly on the map. The intention is to record all the music of C.P.E.Bach, a highly original and always rewarding composer who until relatively recently has lain (neglected by the majority of music-lovers) in his father's shadow. We have already become familiar with the sharp originality of the music of his six "Hamburg" Sinfonias, which have been recorded more than once, and of some of his concertos too, but a complete survey has been long overdue. So let me give the warmest welcome to Vol. I which includes five of the so-called "Berlin" Symphonies, Wq174-5, 1789 and 181 scored for oboes or flutes (sometimes both—notably Wq181 where the use of flutes in the Andante, after oboes in the first movement, adds a piquant touch). The performances, praise be, use modern instruments, so there are none of the more horrid excrescences of `authenticism', yet textures are light and airy, tempos of outer movements are exhilaratingly brisk, and slow movements are genuinely expressive and communicate warmly. In short, this is very rewarding music-making. The players "reach the heart of the music effortlessly and passionately" in the words of NA who was equally enthusiastic about the new series. The cassette is in the demonstration class and my only regret is that there are, unforgivably, no musical notes, although we are told that the performances, by the C.P.E. Bach Chamber Orchestra directed by Hartmut Haenchen were recorded in Berlin's famous Jesus-Christus Kirche, the venue of so many successful past ventures from Furtwangler onwards (Capriccio CC27 105,