W.F. Bach: Sonatas & Trios

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
The reputation of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach has taken a harder hit than almost any composer of his relative stature in history. Conventional wisdom has it he was an irresponsible drunk who died penniless and left his family in a state of desperation as not long after his father died he went out the back door of the European musical establishment, ensuring occupational undesirability for the rest of his life. Friedemann Bach was also the subject of a 1941 Nazi propaganda film that dovetailed his life story neatly in with that of Horst Wessel -- the association has probably hurt him more than helped. It is commonly said that his compositions are practically worthless, that...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
The reputation of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach has taken a harder hit than almost any composer of his relative stature in history. Conventional wisdom has it he was an irresponsible drunk who died penniless and left his family in a state of desperation as not long after his father died he went out the back door of the European musical establishment, ensuring occupational undesirability for the rest of his life. Friedemann Bach was also the subject of a 1941 Nazi propaganda film that dovetailed his life story neatly in with that of Horst Wessel -- the association has probably hurt him more than helped. It is commonly said that his compositions are practically worthless, that his cantatas are all parodies of other works, and that W.F. Bach was the least musically gifted and most inept of Bach's sons, carelessly forging his name to works written by his father in exchange for drinks. W.F. Bach's "Fanna" catalog of works, compiled more than a century ago, is now hopelessly outdated, half consisting of works not written by W.F. Bach, and subsequent discoveries of "new," authentic W.F. Bach compositions now outnumber those in Fanna's catalog by a ratio of two to one. Nevertheless, the conventional wisdom about W.F. Bach's music is completely wrong -- it is quirky, completely original and thoroughly competent. Better than that, it is emotionally moving, stark, and simple -- yet complicated. W.F. Bach absorbed no more than mere structural features of "Styl galant" as his heritage of counterpoint, and attachment to Baroque styles, mandated against it. Many of the very best features of W.F. Bach's music are explored lovingly in Camerata Köln's superb survey of Bach's tiny surviving amount of chamber music on CPO's W.F. Bach: Sonatas & Trios. This includes two stunning flute sonatas discovered only a few years ago, including the "Sonata in E minor" that opens the disc -- a melting, mercurial piece that winds around in a completely unpredictable manner, like a wild vine that springs up on the side of a shed. In chamber music, Bach seems to owe a little more to the spontaneity of Georg Philipp Telemann than to the rigid mathematics of his father, but there is a difference: as Johann Nikolaus Forkel is quoted in the booklet notes for this disc, Bach's melody "is turned differently than that of other composers" -- an apt description of the effect. Camerata Köln's performances are quite simply all great on W.F. Bach: Sonatas & Trios. The recording is a shade distant in the flute sonatas, in itself not a bad thing as an eighteenth century flute can be a little penetrating at full volume, whereas the recording of the string sonatas are rich and well bodied. Even if this excellent disc cannot erase the charges placed against his life story, it should help to some extent in establishing the truth about W.F. Bach's considerable artistic ability.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/18/2006
  • Label: Cpo Records
  • UPC: 761203708628
  • Catalog Number: 777086
  • Sales rank: 189,017

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–3 Sonata for flute & continuo in E minor - Wilhelm Friedemann Bach & Yasunori Imamura (12:54)
  2. 4–6 Trio sonata for 2 flutes & continuo No. 4 in B flat major, F. 50 (BR B16) - Wilhelm Friedemann Bach & Camerata Köln (11:25)
  3. 7–9 Trio sonata for 2 flutes & continuo No. 2 in D major, F. 48 (BR B14) - Wilhelm Friedemann Bach & Camerata Köln (15:13)
  4. 10–12 Sonata for flute & continuo in F major - Wilhelm Friedemann Bach & Yasunori Imamura (13:00)
  5. 11 Trio sonata for 2 flutes & continuo No. 3 in A minor, F. 49 (BR B15) (first movement complete, fragments) - Wilhelm Friedemann Bach & Camerata Köln (4:14)
  6. 14–16 Trio sonata for 2 flutes & continuo No. 1 in D major, F. 47 (BR B13) - Wilhelm Friedemann Bach & Camerata Köln (8:27)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Camerata Köln Primary Artist
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