CDs / DVDs

Gramophone (GB), 01. Mai 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.