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Thursday, November 19, 2020

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach - Keyboard Sonatas, Vol. 2 (Danny Driver)


Composer: Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
  • (01) Sonata in F sharp minor, Wq. 52/4
  • (04) Sonata in E major, Wq. 62/5
  • (07) Sonata in C minor, Wq. 65/31
  • (10) Sonata in A major, Wq. 65/32
  • (13) Fantasie in F sharp minor, Wq. 67
  • (14) Rondo in D minor, Wq. 61/4

Danny Driver, piano
Date: 2012
Label: Hyperion



Danny Driver has chosen some seldom performed pieces for his second volume of CPE Bach’s solo keyboard music. Emanuel Bach’s music is a deliberate shift away from the learned style of his father, though by no means immediately accessible. In the F sharp minor Sonata (H37), Bach asks a lot of his listeners: the rhetorical gestures, harmonic surprises and a wealth of other devices that define his distinctive personal style are strikingly experimental. After hearing this Sonata, it’s easy to empathise with English music historian Dr Charles Burney’s remark that ‘a little habit is required’ for the enjoyment of Bach’s music. Driver revels in Emanuel’s idiosyncrasies, underlining the spontaneous and edgier qualities in the composer’s Empfindsamer stil (sensitive style).

Beside the F sharp minor, the E major Sonata (H39) is more melodic and immediately appealing. Both date from 1744, while the C minor (H121) and A major (H135) Sonatas belong to the late 1750s. The three-crotchet ‘pomposo’ motifs that dominate the opening movement of the C minor piece sound over-emphasised on modern piano, but elsewhere there are plenty of passages of expressive delicacy. An improvisatory fantasie and a rondo round off this unusual and fascinating programme.

-- Nicholas Anderson, BBC Music Magazine


Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (8 March 1714 – 14 December 1788) was a German Classical period musician and composer, the fifth child of Johann Sebastian Bach. C. P. E. Bach was an influential composer working at a time of transition between his father's Baroque style and the Classical style that followed it. Among his most popular and frequently recorded works are his symphonies, as well as many keyboard concertos and sonatas. Bach was also an influential pedagogue, writing the ever influential “Essay on the true art of playing keyboard instruments ” which would be studied by Haydn and Beethoven, among others.


Danny Driver (born 1977 in London) is a British classical pianist. He trained with Alexander Kelly and Piers Lane at Cambridge University, with Irina Zaritskaya at the Royal College of Music, and completed his studies privately with Maria Curcio. Driver has a special interest in unusual or neglected works, alongside the mainstream repertoire. His recordings for Hyperion Records, which earned him three Gramophone Award nominations, include music by Robert Schumann, C. P. E. Bach, G. F. Handel, Mily Balakirev, as well as neglected British composers such as Benjamin Dale, York Bowen and Erik Chisholm.


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