The most prolific and noted son of J.S. Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was largely admired for his prowess in harpsichord as well as writing for the instrument. He was no stranger to other mediums, though, having visited practically every available genre and managing to incorporate his harpsichord on many occasions. This Brilliant Classics disc features four symphonies -- a genre Carl Philipp did not visit especially often. Specifically, we are treated to the four symphonies for strings with 12 obbligato wind parts. Though he is not recognized as an innovator in symphonic writing, these four symphonies are clearly outside the box in their sometimes unusual voicing, and in particular the high independence of the wind parts. Carl Philipp's beloved harpsichord makes a strong showing in the First Symphony and shows its true potential in what may be the jewel of this disc, the Harpsichord Concerto in C minor, Wq43/4. The surprisingly refreshing program is performed by the period instrument ensemble Solamente Naturali under the direction of Didier Talpain. Despite small numbers, the orchestra produces an impressively robust, powerful sound that is nevertheless well-balanced, crisp, and refined. Talpain chooses driven tempos throughout, offering an abundance of vitality to these often overlooked compositions. Brilliant's sound is clean and detailed, and the included liner notes are informative, though the pages appear in the wrong order (1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 5, 6, 9…).
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AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Symphony Wq183/1 (H663) in D|
|Symphony Wq183/2 (H664) in E flat|
|Harpsichord Concerto Wq43/4 (H474) in C minor|
|Symphony Wq183/3 (H665) in F|
|Symphony Wq183/4 (H666) in G|