Its amazing to realize how diverse and varied music JS Bach wrote in his lifetime (1685-1750). Originally written for the gamba and harpischord, these compositions translate well to the modern cello and piano as their sunny, pleasant sonorites attest. The last sonata by Bach's most musically innovative son, CPE Bach, is an added treat.Having recorded all of the major keyboard works of Bach, Angela Hewitt now picks up these "minor" pieces with cellist Daniel Muller-Schott. The compositions are not necessarily "virtuostic" - like those of Beethoven - but they among the first to give more equal partnership of the keyboard beyond continuo. These sonatas brim forth with effortless melody and quality musical development that Bach was so marvelous in composing which gives them a universal appeal.
It was more than a pleasure when Rodrigo Ottaviano an old-new friend and manager of Daniel Melero confirmed to me that Daniel wanted to work with me the art of this record! Piano (1999) was a classic record that I listened to thousands of times, I keep listening … I hope volume 2 also becomes such. It was during a trip to Olot, in Catalonia that I thought to use the volcano on the album cover, and in Mexico came the idea of the nonexistent piano, the piano that in fact Daniel does not play on the disc. Talking with Daniel is always a pleasure, it seems that you can tackle any topic with him, and that's what we talked about during the making of the album art, any subject … of volcanoes, arrangements, things that do not need to be fixed, books , Of my books, told me that during the recording of his last albums my books had been there very present, as anticipating this collaboration. The day that Piano 2 appeared in Buenos Aires, the ashes cloud of the Chilean volcano Calbuco that had erupted a few days before, arrived at Buenos Aires. The coincidences do exist, of course.
The Russian composer Elena Langer, now resident in Britain, draws on influences from her native country (Shostakovich, especially in the chamber orchestration of these songs), from Britain (from Britten to Thomas Adès), and from continental Europe. As a song composer she is able to convey lightness even when dealing with serious material such as the title song cycle setting poems by Lee Harwood (most of the songs on the album are in English). These songs subtly depict love triangles, some of them with both straight and gay elements. Even better are the genuinely playful pieces.
Kiri Te Kanawa does well by these songs, avoiding the billowing excesses of sentiment that in other hands (or vocal chords) can make them sound much too soggy. Although Berlioz gathered them all together under the present title, all of the songs were composed at different times for different singers, so they aren't really a cycle at all. I seldom listen to all of them at once, and you should feel free to take them in any order that suits you. "The Death of Cleopatra" is an early cantata that perfectly suits Jessye Norman's stately delivery. She's always at her best playing royalty, and if they're dying in mortal agony, so much the better.