C. P. E. Bach's two collections of religious songs, published in 1758 and 1780-81, were among the most popular eighteenth-century Lieder publications. Here a selection of them is recorded for the first time with complete texts and accompanied with the clavichord, the composer's favourite instrument, underlining their intimate nature, intended more for private devotional use than for public performance. The recording includes the 'Hamlet Fantasy' that resulted when the poet Heinrich Wilhelm von Gerstenberg imposed his paraphrase of Hamlet's soliloquy on one of C. P. E. Bach's keyboard pieces.
Norbert Meyn, tenor Terence Charlston, clavichord
From Sturms geistliche Gesänge mit Melodien, Vols. 1 and 2, WQ197–98/H749 and 752 (1780–81) https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0248/TOCC0248t08.mp3
Catalogue No: TOCC0248EAN/UPC: 5060113442482Release Date: 07.04.2014Composer: C. P. E. Bach Artists: Norbert Meyn, Terence Charlston
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Johan van Veen :
“… The performance with a clavichord is another asset of this disc. It gives food for thought and could well lead to a more differentiated approach to this repertoire. This disc is also an eloquent plea for a complete performance of songs. I can’t see any reason why a song by CPE Bach or any of his contemporaries should be performed incomplete. Nobody would omit stanzas from a Schubert song.” MusicWeb International
Bertil van Boer :
“…As for the songs themselves, one should remember that often during this period much of the keyboard work was directed by figured bass, but here the accompaniments are often fully written out. The result is a thicker texture that allows for Bach’s often gnarly harmony and modulation to be fully realized. It also gives the works a special intimacy, such as the reflective description of the crucifixion in Sturm’s “Über die Finsternis kurz vor dem Tode Jesu,” where the voice often floats as if viewing a vista from afar. In Gellert’s “Abendlied” Bach is more conservative, providing a gentle aria as if from a reflective cantata. All of these works with the exception of the fantasy are strophic, sometimes with multiple verses, meaning that the emphasis shifts to clarity of text rather than relying upon musicality. This is something that one finds in both Johann Friedrich Reichardt, Carl Friedrich Zelter, and even Franz Schubert (long afterwards). …As for the performance, tenor Norberg Meyn has a light and intimate voice, apparently cautiously dialed back to make the lines appear plain and simple. The choice of the clavichord, with its barely-audible sound at times and its more flexible practice, is a good one, particularly since it was Bach’s favorite instrument.” Fanfare
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