C.P.E. Bach: Keyboard Symphonies

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Composer: Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
Artists: Andrea Chezzi harpsichord
Alberto Colzani (2000), after Goermans-Taskin

About this Album:
A curious and unsatisfying reduction of huge music for tiny forces? By no means. These are not, after all, symphonies in the way that Beethoven, let alone Mahler, understood the term, but breezy three-movement affairs which had lately sprung out of an operatic context and were enjoying a new and independent life through the always-unpredictable idiom of C.P.E., who wrote eight such works between 1741 and 1762. Most of them began as symphonies for strings, with wind parts added later when Bach’s orchestra was enlarged. These early symphonies mixed an Italian style of pleasant and simple writing with the composer’s own evolving voice influenced by the Empfindsamer Stil, drawn together by the impeccable technique which C.P.E. had learnt at the feet of his father, the great Johann Sebastian.

The composer did not make these transcriptions of his ‘Berlin’ symphonies, but they were done during his lifetime to cater to the extensive public of amateur keyboard players. The Symphony in G major Wq122 No.1 (arr. Wq173) is perfectly suited to the harpsichord, with the freshness of an Italian opera overture, especially in the first movement. Elsewhere, Andrea Chezzi has made a few additions to the arrangement when it is excessively thin, limited to some doubling or addition of the inner part, following the practice of the time, while also playing with the ornamentation appropriate to a keyboard performance.

Andrea Chezzi is a solo harpsichordist and organist based in Parma, where he is titular organist for the Church of Santa Maria Annunziata in Mezzano Rondani in the Comune di Colorno, Parma, artistic director of the comune’s cultural association La Compagnia del Lorno, and a founding member of the Giuseppe Serassi cultural association for the appreciation of organs and early instruments.

Tracklist:
00:00:00 Symphony in G Major, Wq. 122 No. 1: II. Andante
00:02:51 Symphony in G Major, Wq. 122 No. 1: III. Allegretto
00:05:13 Symphony in F Major, Wq. 122 No. 2: I. Allegro assai
00:07:46 Symphony in F Major, Wq. 122 No. 2: II. Andante
00:14:53 Symphony in F Major, Wq. 122 No. 2: III. Tempo di minuetto
00:18:33 Symphony in D Major: I. Allegro (Arr. Wq. 176)
00:28:06 Symphony in D Major: II. Andante (Arr. Wq. 176)
00:31:13 Symphony in D Major: III. Presto (Arr. Wq. 176)
00:34:04 Symphony in E Minor, Wq. 122 No. 3: I. Allegro assai
00:38:15 Symphony in E Minor, Wq. 122 No. 3: II. Andante
00:44:01 Symphony in E Minor, Wq. 122 No. 3: III. Allegro

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