Andrew Manze and the English Concert record works by C.P.E. Bach on Harmonia Mundi, (p) 2006.
Well-recorded sound. Excellent, in fact. Very nice symphonic sound for a chamber orchestra. One of the few discs of note where Manze isn’t the star, but the orchestra is. Excellent flute, oboe, and especially horn playing. This music is ripe with drama and penache. Bach’s most-gifted son wrote works that really depart from his father’s sound world, works that are clearly in a new, galant style. This disc offers us four symphonies in three movements (my preference) and a concerto for Cello. All the works are played with an affective style, at times with winking humor, and at others, with a seriousness deserving a smile, since it’s done so well. The cello concerto for me was an interesting work, but likely the weakest of the offerings. I can only think that Bach’s father would have thought this a bit to silly and tidy. Who knows, he was dead. I noticed especially on this disc some fine harpsichord playing by David Gordon. The crisp texture is heard in each work, and the fireworks emerging from the instrument are an exciting textual element that is missing from so many other recordings. All the works on this disc are new to me. They are not overly serious works, but they have energy and are played so well. I highly recommend this disc—I think it might be the best EC disc ever recorded. According to the roster, the EC has some new blood of late.