Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

For the past five years or so I've posted reviews of classical music CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays, in various places on the web: Amazon.com, iTunes and other sites. I'll collect those earlier reviews, and add four or five new ones every month.

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Knowing interpretations of appealing music


C.P.E. Bach, Sonatas for Violin & Fortepiano

One of the common dynamics in a wide range of arts is the dialectic between the rational and the expressive, classic and romantic, Apollo and Dionysus. This is where C.P.E. Bach lives, looking at once back to his father's example of cosmic order and ahead to the confusing affective eruption that would later be termed Sturm und Drang (Storm and Drive, or Storm and Stress). To call these expressive Sonatas Romantic is to overstate the case, but their expressiveness is undeniable. They are also tuneful in an original way, full of erudite cleverness that gives both the listener and player much pleasure. I can't imagine a more effective presentation of this music: Amandine Beyer's violin is the emoting actor, while Edna Stern's fortepiano provides the lightest of commentary to go with her solid support. They play this music with style and grace, and aren't afraid to milk the sentimental moments when the composer lets his classic mask slip artfully to the side. At the same time their interpretation is knowing; Beyer and Stern know when to give the music its full expressive force, and when to pass on the composer's winks. This is an outstanding release that I've listened to a great deal in the past weeks, and which I plan to explore further.

These aren't new recordings, but from 2005, from a Zig Zag Territoires disc.

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