Camerata Bern

C.Ph.E. Bach; 6 Hamburg Symphonies, Wq. 182

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Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach provides one of many bridges between the Baroque and Classical eras, though the connections found in his life and music were perhaps as personal as they were artistic. As J.S. Bach's second son and as the godson of Georg Philipp Telemann, C.P.E. Bach owed his thorough education and social placement to these masters. Through an association with Baron Gottfried van Swieten, the zealous promoter of Haydn and Mozart, his works found fame in Vienna's Classical circles. Yet it was in Hamburg that C.P.E. Bach established himself as the successor to Telemann, and as the city's foremost musical director, he became known as the "Hamburg Bach." The first six of his ten Hamburg Symphonies follow the fast-slow-fast format adopted from the Baroque concerto, yet the music pressed into this framework bears little resemblance to the older contrapuntal style. Instead, the "affective style" (empfindsamer Stil) of the pre-Classical symphonists is dominant, and the influence of the Mannheim and Vienna schools is apparent in the shaping of melodies, the spinning out of motives, and the regular use of homophonic textures. Camerata Bern, directed by Thomas Füri, presents these symphonies with high energy and crisp articulation, and its polished performances make exploration of this music a pleasure.

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