Avant garde. Eccentric. A maniac. Wild and adventurous. Off the wall. Extraordinary. No marketing hyperbole - this is how the players of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment describe Carl Philip Emmanuel Bach and his music. One of the many children of JS Bach, CPE Bach always lived in his father’s shadow, and now is an almost unknown figure at least beyond the classical cogniscenti. How can such an unknown be considered a gamechanger? A listen to his music reveals just why – it constantly shifts, wrongfooting the listener when they least expect it with wild changes of direction and colour – it is bright, effervescent, and is a fascinating link between the music of his father (and the Baroque era) and Joseph Haydn (and the Classical era).
The previous two CDs from pianist Michael Rische of the Piano Concertos of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach have been universally acclaimed for their high degree of musicality and the pianist’s passionate commitment to this composer. And in fact, much of the work of this highly original genius remains to be discovered. The 300th Birthday of Bach's second son offers an ideal occasion to become better acquainted with this extraordinary and surprising composer. In addition to the solo concertos, this CD also presents the Concerto for 2 Pianos and Orchestra Wq 46. In each work, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach makes the claim - once again – of his unique place in the history of music, and as evident in these vital, life-affirming performances, is one of the truly great “rediscovered” composers of the past.
After the success of their first volume Ophélie Gaillard and Pulcinella propose a second disc devoted to Johann Sebastian Bach's most talented and surprising son, Carl Philipp Emanuel (1714-1788). The Sinfonia in C major expresses multiple emotions, ranging from irrepressible suffering in the Adagio to joyous release and insouciance in the concluding Allegretto, tinged with near-Mozartian grace. The Cello Concerto in B flat reveals the influence of the waning Baroque era and Vivaldi in particular.
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, the most famous son of the great Johann Sebastian, created his own individual style, in which freedom of expression was the keyword. This substantial collection of keyboard works, ‘Für Kenner und Liebhaber’ (for connoisseur and amateur) contains some of his most audacious compositions, in which frequent and abrupt mood changes, improvisatory and declamatory passages without bar lines and wildly digressing modulations are the stylistic landmarks.
Towards the end of his life, Johann Sebastian Bach made a second collection of concertos, these for keyboard. Around 1738 he put this together, possibly as a way of publicizing his work with the Leipzig Collegium , or possibly with an eye towards publishing them. The six works are all somewhat eclectic since they seem to have been transcriptions of works for other instruments, as the informative booklet notes by soloist Aapo Häkkinen state. There are other sources in the Bach archives, so how he put them together can more or less be traced, and in recording these, Häkkinen and his Helsinki Baroque Orchestra have decided that they would be split into two volumes.