CDs / DVDs, 14. Oktober 2014
Whilst listening to this CD from the ever-enterprising Brilliant Classics I found myself comparing it with a Capriccio disc by Tafelmusik, also from the mid-1990s. The latter shares five of these works: Sinfonia in F, Sinfonia in D minor, the D major one from the Pentecost Cantata Dies ist der Tag and the Suite in G minor.

I expected, for some reason, to find Tafelmusik the perfect ensemble for this repertoire, more crisp, authentic and modern. However, I was quite surprised at the ‘flabbiness’ of their tempi at times. This can be heard, for example, in the Adagio from the D minor Sinfonia; surely this is too sluggish. Also the Vivace of the D major Sinfonia lacks the very vitality and excitement which the Kammerorchester C.P.E. Bach manage to convey.
... The interesting booklet notes by Hartmut Haenchen, the conductor and architect behind this project, do not directly say this but he does remind us that W.F.’s “output was never actually published”. He goes on “and many of the works have been destroyed”. There could be nine symphonies but five are lost at present. I like this performance; it knocks over two minutes off that of Tafelmusik. This doesn’t matter in itself except that interest and a strong sense of involvement are well communicated. The style of this work is the language of ‘empfindsamer Stil’ – the demonstration of true and natural emotion developed more by mid-period Haydn and C.P.E. Bach – nervous volatility and mercurial mood changes.
... and the booklet notes go into some fascinating detail.
This is a very useful overview of W.F. Bach...
Gary Higginson
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