Pletnev: Bach - Sonatas And Rondos (FLAC)
Pletnev: Bach - Sonatas And Rondos (FLAC)

Performer: Mikhail Pletnev
Composer: Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
Audio CD
SPARS Code: DDD
Number of Discs: 1
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Size: 240 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

# Sonata for keyboard in G minor, H. 47, Wq. 65/17
Composed by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
with Mikhail Pletnev

# Rondo, for keyboard No. 1 in A major (Kenner IV/1), H. 276, Wq. 58/1
Composed by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
with Mikhail Pletnev

# Sonata for keyboard in C minor, H. 121, Wq. 65/31
Composed by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
with Mikhail Pletnev

# Sonata for keyboard in D major (Kenner VI/2), H. 286, Wq. 61/2
Composed by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
with Mikhail Pletnev

# Sonata for keyboard in F sharp minor (Zweyte Forsetzung No. 4), H. 37, Wq. 52/4
Composed by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
with Mikhail Pletnev

# Rondo, for keyboard No. 2 in D minor (Kenner VI/4), H. 290, Wq. 61/4
Composed by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
with Mikhail Pletnev

# Sonata for keyboard in G major, H. 119, Wq. 62/19
Composed by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
with Mikhail Pletnev

# Rondo, for keyboard No. 2 in C minor (Kenner V/4), H. 283, Wq. 59/4
Composed by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
with Mikhail Pletnev

# Sonata for keyboard in E minor (Kenner V/1), H. 281, Wq. 59/1
Composed by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
with Mikhail Pletnev

# Sonata for keyboard in A major, H. 135, Wq. 65/32 Andante con tenerezza
Composed by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
with Mikhail Pletnev

A curiously different Bach

Hearing these compositions by Russian piano-wizard Mikhail Pletnev for the first time might leave you with the thought, “Wow, that was pretty different.” And indeed these somewhat unpredictable sonatas are curiously different – as is Mr. Pletnev’s approach to them. Certainly CPE Bach was the most innovative and daring composer of the Bach dynasty, shunning the “old school” contrapuntal form perfected by his father and plunging into music more singularly melodic and less inhibited in expression and form. Such traits are most abundant in this keyboard music with its extemporaneous style and abundant elements of free-fantasy composition. This combined with Mikhail Pletnev’s “plucky” and dynamic style produces music of the “late Baroque” that is most unusual, idiosyncratic and far reaching beyond the typical musical mannerisms of the times. Pianists and serious classical music listners should find this keyboard music most fascinating and deeply rewarding – both from the compositons and Pletnev’s trademark quicksilver playing.

Perhaps, for the newer listener or those more acustom to the “more accessible” keyboard music of JS Bach, Handel, Haydn or Mozart – these more idiosyncratic keyboard works by CPE Bach may take more effort to appreciate. While they may not exude many memorable, lyrical melodies and exhibit typical sonata form, there is an abundance of brilliant, breathtaking virtuostic keyboard playing that tantilizes the musical senses. Much of it sounds like it was improvised on spot with what the commentary describes as “fragments of free fantasy in the manner of a collage … in a harmonic design that is strikingly bold.” One thing that stands out in many of the pieces is the frequent and relatively long stretches of silence and the drawing-out of tempos and progression – again the free-fantasy manner. While sometimes certain pieces can seem to plod along, Pletnev’s marvelous syncronicity with this music keeps those with ears to hear it highly engaged. And the DG sound quality is superb – clear, bold and without criticism.

These Sonatas/Rondos by CPE Bach will most likely appeal to the true pianophile or “specialist” (as BBC Music concluded) who should find much to celebrate in Pletnev’s sheer dynamism and Bach Jr.s far-reaching composing. Much of it is really extrodinary to behold knowing this was the 18th century.

This CD got very positive reviews in the music press, especially for Pletnev’s pioneering efforts to bring this music into the modern repertoire. Rightfully so, Penguin Guide gave this CD both a “Rosette Award” and “Recommended Recording” citing. Music-critic David Hurwitz of ClassicsToday gave this release a perfect 10/10 (Artistry/Sound Quality) along with glowing comments for Pletnev’s keen ability to bring out the improvisorial spirit with this style of music. Pletnev is brilliant in this music, displaying the same, caffeine-like alertness in his “pizzazy” Scarlatti Sonata recording (a Gramophone Award Winner). One this is for sure: these works reveal just how “far thinking” was the music and style of this particular and different Bach. And Pletnev brings the most out of this music with his uninhibited style and strong improv instincts. Compositions – 5 stars; Performance – 5 stars; Sound – 5 stars.

7 Comments

  1. I have this CD and I thought nobody else on this planet knew it. Good ol’ memories! A great recomendation for all baroque lovers.

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