Bach, CPE: Sonatas for Violins and Keyboard - Podger, Bezuidenhout

Bach, CPE: Sonatas for Violins and Keyboard - Podger, Bezuidenhout

Channel Classics  CCSSA 41523

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Chamber

Bach, C.P.E.: Sonatas for Violins and Keyboard

Rachel Podger (violin)
Kristian Bezuidenhout (fortepiano, harpsichord)

The Baroque dream team of Rachel Podger and Kristian Bezuidenhout interpret the astonishing music of C.P.E. Bach’s Violin Sonatas in C Minor, B Minor, D Major and G Minor. The two early sonatas here from the 1730s resemble the older style of his father. Listening to these works, you can imagine J.S. Bach glancing over Emanuel's shoulders while he wrote them as a teenager at home in Leipzig. The later sonatas, written 30 to 50 years later, reveal an emancipated composer whose developed musical language embodies the 'Empfindsamer Stil', the directly emotional and rhetorical style characteristic of northern-german music of the time.

Rachel Podger: “It was wonderful to delve into the specific musical world that belongs to C.P.E. Bach for this recording with Kris. These violin sonatas are (quite unfortunately!) largely overshadowed by the classical Viennese sonatas of Mozart and Beethoven. Part of his genius is that he is full of surprises and unpredictable turns, and this was hugely enjoyable for me during the musical partnership with the wonderful Kristian Bezuidenhout.”

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Reviews (1)

Review by Graham Williams - August 19, 2023

Rachel Podger solidifies her esteemed standing in the realm of baroque violinists with a remarkable rendition of CPE Bach's Sonatas, accompanied by the equally accomplished South African keyboard virtuoso, Kristian Bezuidenhout.

The 18th century witnessed a gradual evolution from the Baroque to the Classical era in music. Among the era's influential and gifted composers, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788), the second eldest son of Johann Sebastian Bach, held a prominent position. His reputation soared in his time, and his works, including these sonatas, exemplify a bridge between the Baroque and subsequent styles.

The first item on this SACD collection is the 'Harpsichord and Violin Sonata in G minor, H. 542.5', a piece attributed to both C.P.E. and J.S. Bach, suggesting a potential collaboration between father and son. This composition, along with the four-movement 'Sonata in D major Wq.71', features the resounding tones of a copy of a French double manual harpsichord built by Keith Hill, paired with Podger's signature Pesarinius violin from Genoa, dating back to 1739.

Presenting the remaining two sonatas, originating from a set penned in 1763, skilfully demonstrates the composer's inventive prowess. The captivatingly expressive ‘Adagio ma non troppo’ of the 'C minor Sonata Wq. 78', and its quicksilver ‘Presto’ finale are irresistible, while the equally charming 'Sonata in B minor Wq. 76' showcases Bezuidenhout's mastery of a finely crafted fortepiano, meticulously modelled after an Anton Walter instrument by Paul McNulty in 2008. In the 'Arioso con variazioni Wq.79' the violin plays a subservient role, enhancing and enriching Bezuidenhout's eloquent and deeply nuanced performance of the piece's five variations. A captivating synergy between Rachel Podger and Kristian Bezuidenhout radiates throughout this recital, breathing life into every bar of these sonatas, making it challenging to envisage more exceptional interpretations.

The SACD recording, produced in the resonant acoustics of St John the Evangelist in Upper Norwood, London in May 2022, attains sonic perfection. The impeccable engineering of Jared Sacks, renowned for its remarkable realism, captures both artists in harmonious equilibrium, epitomizing the standard of excellence we've come to anticipate from his productions.

Complementing this outstanding release are authoritative liner notes by Professor Timothy Jones that contribute to the comprehensive allure of this offering from Channel Classics

Copyright © 2023 Graham Williams and


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