Beyond the Limits: C.P.E. Bach - Complete Symphonies for Strings and Continuo

Amandine Beyer / Gli Incogniti

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Beyond the Limits: C.P.E. Bach - Complete Symphonies for Strings and Continuo Review

by James Manheim

The output of the prolific C.P.E. Bach continues to yield gems that justify the admiration of Mozart, among others, for his music. These six Symphonies for strings and continuo, Wq. 182, have been recorded before; greats Trevor Pinnock and Christopher Hogwood both committed sets to disc, but recordings in the 21st century have been sparse. This is odd, inasmuch as the pieces were commissioned by Vienna's Baron Gottfried van Swieten, a connoisseur who did much to introduce the music of J.S. Bach to both Mozart and Beethoven and for whom C.P.E. Bach might have been expected to put forth the maximal effort. As it happens, he did. These are late-career experimental works that live up to the "beyond the limits" booklet description of violinist-conductor Amandine Beyer. She and her group Gli Incogniti, which has specialized mostly in Baroque music, are the first to give these works the contemporary rough-and-tumble Baroque treatment, which given the startling content, may well be what listeners are after. Gli Incogniti are here bulked up to seven violins and pairs on the other string parts, which is all to the good. Listen to the careening first movement of the Symphony in C major, Wq. 182/3, or the almost unthinkably dramatic opening of that symphony's slow movement. It's quite a contrast from earlier readings, and Beyer approaches the essence of the Sturm und Drang quality that until now has been more associated with C.P.E.'s keyboard music. Harmonia Mundi's sound from the Théâtre d'Arras is ideally idiomatic, physical, and intense without overdoing the close-ups. This is a performance of C.P.E.'s orchestral music that even detractors will concede is very exciting.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
The Hamburg Symphonies, Wq. 182
1 Amandine Beyer / Gli Incogniti 03:14 Amazon
2 Amandine Beyer / Gli Incogniti 03:16 Amazon
3 Amandine Beyer / Gli Incogniti 03:43 Amazon
4 Amandine Beyer / Gli Incogniti 02:08 Amazon
5 Amandine Beyer / Gli Incogniti 02:50 Amazon
6 Amandine Beyer / Gli Incogniti 03:36 Amazon
7 Amandine Beyer / Gli Incogniti 03:55 Amazon
8 Amandine Beyer / Gli Incogniti 02:28 Amazon
9 Amandine Beyer / Gli Incogniti 03:32 Amazon
10 Amandine Beyer / Gli Incogniti 04:14 Amazon
11 Amandine Beyer / Gli Incogniti 03:07 Amazon
12 Amandine Beyer / Gli Incogniti 04:07 Amazon
13 Amandine Beyer / Gli Incogniti 02:23 Amazon
14 Amandine Beyer / Gli Incogniti 02:45 Amazon
15 Amandine Beyer / Gli Incogniti 04:53 Amazon
Sinfonia Wq. 177 (H. 652) E minor
16 Amandine Beyer / Gli Incogniti 03:49 Amazon
17 Amandine Beyer / Gli Incogniti 03:06 Amazon
18 Amandine Beyer / Gli Incogniti 03:24 Amazon
The Hamburg Symphonies, Wq. 182
19 Amandine Beyer / Gli Incogniti 03:07 Amazon
20 Amandine Beyer / Gli Incogniti 02:56 Amazon
21 Amandine Beyer / Gli Incogniti 04:29 Amazon
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