Kammerorchester

http://criticaclassica.wordpress.com, 07. August 2014
... L’esecuzione è affidata all’ottima Kammerorchester Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, diretta da Hartmut Haenchen, autore anche delle interessanti note contenute nel libretto di accompagnamento, che ci fanno comprendere le difficoltà legate al recupero dei brani proposti, piccoli gioielli di un musicista da riscoprire e far conoscere.
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The Listener, 11. April 2014
The Listener, 11. April 2014
EINST DER "BOOM-BACH", HEUTE WIEDER DER GROSSE UNBEKANNTE: WILHELM FRIEDMANN

Ich finde es im Prinzip witzig, aber auch etwas erschreckend, über welch kurzes Gedächtnis die Klassikbranche verfügt – die ja immerhin mit jahrhundertealten musikalischen „Gütern“ Handel treibt.

Ein ganz spannendes Beispiel dafür ist der Fall Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. Noch Mitte der 1990er-Jahre hatte es eine kurzzeitige, aber sehr heftige W.F. Bach-Begeisterung gegeben. Wilhelm Friedemann galt zu jener Zeit unzweifelhaft als der bei einem breiten Publikum bekannteste „Bach-Sohn“.
Nun, im Jubiläumsjahr von Wilhelm Friedemanns Bruder Carl Philipp Emanuel hat sich das Bild drastisch gewandelt: Wilhelm Friedemann Bach wird aus dem Topf gezaubert, als sei er der große Unbekannte, während das C.P.E. Bach-Jubiläum ungeahnt rosige Blüten treibt.
Mal im Ernst: Wer hat sich denn bis 2013 groß für C.P.E. Bach interessiert? Und nun tauchen dessen Werke plötzlich in den Klassik-Charts auf!?
So begrüßenswert das an sich ist, erinnert es mich doch frappierend an jenes kurzzeitige W.F. Bach-Hoch in den 1990er-Jahren. Dass der älteste der Bach-Söhne heute wieder als „nobody“, den es zu entdecken gilt, hingestellt werden kann, liegt wohl vor allem daran, dass die Labels es anno 2010 versäumt haben, ihn ähnlich wie heute C.P.E. Bach zu hypen.

Wie dem auch sei: Die Wiederveröffentlichung der sehr schönen Einspielung der gesammelten „Sinfonien“ von W.F. Bach durch das Kammerorchester C.P.E. Bach unter Leitung von Hartmut Haenchen gehört zweifellos zu den positiven Überraschungen des C.P.E. Bach-Jubiläumsjahrs. Mit einem definitiv nicht verknöcherten „historisch informierten“ Ansatz, sondern mit einer legeren, frischen, musikalischen und einfach eingängigen Attitüde entließ Haenchen diese immer wieder interessanten und überraschend originellen W.F. Bach-Stücke anno 1993 auf (damals noch) Schallplatte und CD. Damals waren sie einer der Auftakte zu dem erwähnten kleinen W.F. Bach-Boom, der heute scheint’s schon wieder ganz vergessen ist.

Vielleicht schafft es ja Bruder C.P.E. die Bach-Söhne insgesamt aus ihrer Publikumskrise zu befreien. Das wäre zu wünschen, denn das in meinen Augen interessanteste Jubiläum steht uns erst in ein paar Jahrzehnten noch bevor, nämlich der 300. Geburtstag von Johann Christian Bach im Jahr 2035… Bis dahin gilt es noch viel nachzuholen. Diese CD ist ein zeitlos guter Startpunkt dafür.
Rainer Aschemeier
www.allmusic.com, 05. August 2010
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.amazon.com, 01. Juli 1999
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.
American Record Guide, 01. September 1997
(...) 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
Mitteldeutsche Zeitung, 11. Juni 1996
Überraschung durch Bach-Sohn

Das Kammerorchester interpretierte die weitgehend unbekannten Stücke an ihrem Entstehungsort mit stilistisch sicherem Empfinden (...) Stilvolle Homophonie mit sich entfaltender Melodiek, schöne dynamische Bögen und Steigerungen, tänzerische Gesten und substantielle Polyphonie führten zu einem nachhaltigen Klangerlebnis. Die filigrane Musizierkunst des Orchesters, Exaktheit und Feinnervigkeit des Dirigats und die Werke dieses wenig beachteten Komponisten begeisterten die zahlreichen Zuhörer in der Marktkirche.
Gießener Allgemeine, 10. Juni 1996
Königliche Klänge unter dem Sirius
Das Orchester zeigte königliche Qualitäten.

Gerold Paul
Berliner Morgenpost, 09. Juni 1996
Mit dem Kammerorchester C.Ph.E. Bach unter Leitung von Hartmut Haenchen deutet sich an, wie hoch die Veranstalter die künstlerisch-dramaturgische Elle gelegt haben.

Astrid Weidauer
Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, 01. Mai 1996
Ein aberwitziges Experiment, eine monumentale Farbenetüde (...) straffe Tempi und ein scharf gezeichnetes Klangbild (...) überzeugend auch im Klima und in der Diktion der Wiedergabe.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 11. Oktober 1995
UNBEDINGT HÖRENSWERT

Die Schallplattenindustrie behandelt sein Oeuvre stiefmütterlich (...) Sensationell wirkt da die Ankündigung einer "Weltersteinspielung" (...) Was die CD unbedingt hörenswert macht, ist das feinfühlige, aufs Detail konzentrierte Benühen Hartmut Haenchens, den Individualismus von Friedemann Bachs Musik zum Ausdruck zu bringen (...) Der Streicherklang lebt innerlich, ist durchzogen von einem sachten Vibrieren, das die Musik ohne romantische Übertreibung expressiv durchwebt.

Hanno Ehrler
Fanfare, 27. Juni 1994
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.
William Youngren
FONOFORUM, 01. Mai 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.

Franpeter Messmer