Final disc in the series
With this disc, Miklós Spányi’s survey of the complete keyboard concertos of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, begun in 1995, reaches its conclusion. But over the years it has already been described as ‘a unique monument to one of the 18th century's most underrated composers’ (Gramophone) as well as ‘one of the most important and monumental recording projects of the century so far’ (MusicWeb International) and ‘an epoch-making achievement… in the history of recorded music’ (klassik-heute.de). Together, the 64 works – composed over a period of fifty-five years (1733-88) – form an endlessly fascinating picture of their composer’s various choices made in the course of a long career. They also illustrate the development of the concerto genre, and, indeed, of music itself during the mid-eighteenth century – a period of experimentation and great variety. All of these aspects are explored in an admirable fashion in the liner notes to the various discs, written by the C.P.E. Bach scholars Jane R. Stevens and Darrell M. Berg. Throughout the series, Miklós Spányi has performed the solo parts on harpsichord, fortepiano and tangent piano, carefully explaining his choices in his own remarks to each volume, and thereby providing much insight into a crucial chapter in the development of the keyboard instruments. The two double concertos on this final volume frame most of Bach’s career, with the F major work for two harpsichords hailing from 1740 and the Concerto in E flat major being the fruit of the composer’s final year. The latter work is intriguing in that Bach in his score specified that the solo parts should be performed on a harpsichord and a fortepiano respectively, resulting in some fascinating sound effects. The disc ends with a Sonatina for two harpsichords, composed in the 1760s, and remarkable for the size of its orchestra: the work employs the largest forces ever used by Bach, and forms a suitably resplendent finale to this great recording project.