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Monday, November 16, 2020

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach - Oboe Concertos (Xenia Löffler)


Composer: Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
  • (01) Oboe Concerto in E-flat major, Wq. 165, H. 468
  • (04) Symphony in F major, Wq. 181, H. 656
  • (07) Oboe Concerto in B-flat major, Wq. 164, H. 466
  • (10) Symphony in G major, Wq. 180, H. 655

Xenia Löffler, oboe
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin

Date: 2019
Label: Harmonia Mundi



The oboe concertos – CPE Bach at his most amenable – get prime billing on the jewel case. Yet it’s the two capriciously inventive symphonies from the mid-1750s that really grip the imagination here. These are far less familiar than CPE’s later sets of Hamburg symphonies, but hardly less subversive in their violently compacted opening movements. Mingling athletic precision and devil-may-care abandon, the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin relish the music’s seething energy and harmonic and dynamic shocks. Violins surge and spit frenetically against the glinting high-pitched horns. With discreetly balanced harpsichord support, CPE’s characteristic repeated-note bass lines are lithe and propulsive, always enhancing the music’s nervous vitality. The players are equally attuned to the soulful Empfindsamkeit of the slow movements, whether in the gently lilting Andante of the F major Symphony (Wq181) or the more disturbed Largo of the G major (Wq180).

With her mellow, rounded tone and subtle rhythmic sense, Xenia Löffler excels in the more gracious, ‘normal’ world of the oboe concertos, though as ever CPE cannot resist the odd disorientating hiatus or alien harmony. Löffler is all you could ask in this repertoire, phrasing and colouring with spontaneous flair, bringing a twinkling sense of fun (not a word readily associated with CPE) to the finales and a singing eloquence to the slow movements. The plaintive Largo e mesto of the B flat Concerto (Wq164) has a touching, fragile intimacy I’ve never heard equalled, with the strings matching Löffler all the way in sensitivity. I would have ideally liked the oboe less forwardly balanced vis-à-vis the orchestra. But that’s a trifling reservation. The CD competition, especially in the symphonies, is sparse. Even if it weren’t, I’d confidently recommend this disc to anyone attracted to CPE’s quirkily fascinating art.

-- Richard Wigmore, Gramophone

More reviews:


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.


Trained at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, Xenia Löffler is particularly interested in exploring unknown oboe repertory and recording it on CD. She has already released numerous award-winning solo CDs with labels such as harmonia mundi, Supraphon and Accent, including nine widely acclaimed CDs with the Amphion Bläseroktett, which she founded in 1988. Since 2001 Löffler has been a member and solo oboist of the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin. She gives master classes in Germany and abroad, and supervises the class for historical oboes at the University of the Arts in Berlin.


Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin (Akamus) is a German chamber orchestra founded in East Berlin in 1982. Each year Akamus gives circa 100 concerts, ranging from small chamber works to large-scale symphonic pieces in Europe as well as on tours in Asia, North America and South America. About 30 musicians form the core of the orchestra. They perform under the leadership of their four concertmasters or guest conductors. Recording exclusively for Harmonia Mundi since 1994, the ensemble’s CDs have earned many international prizes, including the Grammy, the Diapason d'Or, the Cannes Classical and the Gramophone Award.


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  2. MI humilde opinión es que los ciclos mejor en bloques ... que sino "aburren" al no interesado en el músico ... Por otro lado, tu otro blog, UNA AUTÉNTICA MARAVILLA, GRACIAS!!!!!!!!