The Largo from Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s Concerto in A Major, Wq.172, in celebration of his 300th anniversary. Performed on original instruments by the Early Music ensemble Voices of Music: Tanya Tomkins, soloist; 4K UHD video from our Virtuoso Concertos concert, November, 2014.
C.P.E. Bach marks the middle movement of his concerto “con sordini, mesto” indicating mutes for the strings with the affect of a lament; the work is unquestionably one of the masterpieces of composition from the period c1750.
In addition to transforming the musical language at the end of the Baroque, C.P.E. Bach also elevated the role of the cello, so that as a solo instrument it became the equal of the keyboard, violin and flute. This new balance is realized by the presentation of several of Bach’s concertos in multiple forms: the solo parts for the cello concertos were also arranged for harpsichord and flute. Although it is tempting to speculate that the cello versions were composed first, or specifically with the cello in mind, it is also quite possible that Carl Philipp could, first of all, handle the composition of three versions simultaneously, and, second, that he, like his father, was accomplished on a variety of instruments but was primarily a keyboard player. Nonetheless, the rich textures and compelling virtuosity of the concertos for cello make a persuasive case that the Carl Philipp–who occasionally cut a few compositional corners for lesser commissions–invested his best efforts in these concertos, which show a composer willing and able to emerge from the shadow of his extraordinary father, J.S. Bach.
Performing parts based on the critical edition Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: The Complete Works (http://www.cpebach.org) were graciously made available by the publisher,
the Packard Humanities Institute of Los Altos, California.
The Musicians and their Instruments
Voices of Music performs on original instruments: hear the music played on instruments from the time of the composer.
Lisa Grodin, baroque viola by Mathias Eberl, Salzburg, Austria, 1680
Kati Kyme, baroque violin by Johann Gottlob Pfretzschner,
Mittenwald, Germany, 1791
Carla Moore, baroque violin by Johann Georg Thir, Vienna, Austria, 1754
Maxine Nemerovski, baroque violin by Timothy Johnson,
Bloomington, Indiana, 1999 (after Antonio Stradivari, Cremona, Italy, 17th century)
Farley Pearce, violone by George Stoppani, Manchester, 1985, after Amati, 1560
Hanneke van Proosdij, Italian single manual harpsichord by Johannes Klinkhamer, Amsterdam, 2000, after Cristofori, Florence, c1725
William Skeen, baroque cello by Gianbattista Grancino, Milan, 1725
David Tayler, archlute by Andreas von Holst, Munich, 2012,
after Magno Tieffenbrucker, Venice, c1610
Tanya Tomkins, baroque cello, Lockey Hill, London, 1798
Gabrielle Wunsch, baroque violin by Lorenzo Carcassi, 1764.