With his 2017 release on Erato, Jean Rondeau illustrates the beginnings of the harpsichord concerto, which can be traced from the Baroque masterpieces of Johann Sebastian Bach through the early Classical period, represented here by works of his sons, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, and Johann Christian Bach. While this celebrated musical dynasty contributed to many forms in the 18th century, the keyboard concerto was given a special, innovative treatment by the Bachs, who effectively put the genre on the map. Of the present selections, the elder Bach's Concerto No. 1 in D minor, BWV 1052 and the Concerto No. 5 in F minor, BWV 1056 are the best-known examples, and to a lesser extent, C.P.E. Bach's Concerto in D minor, Wq 23 is played, though the Concerto in F minor of Johann Christian Bach is attributed to him, and the brief Lamento of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach is Rondeau's transcription of the Sonata in G major, FK 7, not a full concerto. Most recordings of BWV 1052 and BWV 1056 feature a piano in the solo role, but Rondeau plays a modern replica of German instruments of the period. Also, instead of a full-size orchestra to provide accompaniment, Rondeau is joined by six players -- violinists Sophie Gent and Louis Creac'h, violist Fanny Paccoud, cellist Antoine Touche, contrabassist Thomas de Pierrefeu, and bassoonist Evolène Kiener -- who bring an intimacy and urgency that fit with the modernity and audacity Rondeau cites in his liner notes as being hallmarks of the Bach family.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Concerto No. 1 BWV 1052 in D minor|
|Concerto in F minor|
|Sonata FK 7 in G major|
|Concerto No. 5 BWV 1056 in F minor|
|Concerto Wq. 23 in D minor|