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Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Rebecca Miller - C.P.E. Bach: Symphonies (2015)

Posted By: Designol
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Rebecca Miller - C.P.E. Bach: Symphonies (2015)

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach - Symphonies (2015)
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, conducted by Rebecca Miller

EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue&Log) ~ 297 Mb | Mp3 (CBR320) ~ 136 Mb | Scans included
Genre: Classical | Label: Signum Records | # SIGCD395 | Time: 00:56:33

Avant garde. Eccentric. A maniac. Wild and adventurous. Off the wall. Extraordinary. No marketing hyperbole - this is how the players of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment describe Carl Philip Emmanuel Bach and his music. One of the many children of JS Bach, CPE Bach always lived in his father’s shadow, and now is an almost unknown figure at least beyond the classical cogniscenti. How can such an unknown be considered a gamechanger? A listen to his music reveals just why – it constantly shifts, wrongfooting the listener when they least expect it with wild changes of direction and colour – it is bright, effervescent, and is a fascinating link between the music of his father (and the Baroque era) and Joseph Haydn (and the Classical era).

The 20 symphonies of C.P.E. Bach have been performed fairly often, but to have an entire concert or recording (the present release, recorded live in London in 2014, represents both) devoted to a group of them is rare. The symphonies date both from the earlier part of Bach's career in Berlin and the later phase in Hamburg, where he composed works in an explicitly difficult style at the request of Baron van Swieten in Vienna, patron as well to both Haydn and Mozart. In fact, the earlier works are nearly as thorny, and hearing five of the symphonies together brings home unusually well how radical they are, how the experimental quality of C.P.E.'s work extended well beyond keyboard sonatas and other more intimate genres. The Symphony in D major, Wq. 183/1 (tracks 1-3), is from the earlier set and is a good example; in the first movement, listeners literally are kept in the dark as to the key for much of the first movement. There are elements of the so-called sturm und drang movement in several of the symphonies, not just the one in a minor key, but the Symphony in B minor, Wq. 182/5 (tracks 7-9) is the most extreme in its emotionalism. The performances from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Rebecca Miller are excellent, with a good-sized group of period instruments used to produce a somewhat rough sound. The tempos are quick and the accents strong, emphasizing the careening harmonic corners in Bach's music and generally putting across its unsettled, radical quality. Highly recommended.

Review by James Manheim, Allmusic.com

One of the things that those particularly fond of the Classical era in music love is the formality, the predictability, and the changes that can be made within that formal structure. It gives comfort, and one admires differentiations in orchestration, combinations of and the highlighting of instruments and tempos. And then we encounter CPE Bach, Johann Sebastian’s second son, placed firmly in the Classical Era and almost impossible to second guess.

Just take the start of the CD–the symphony in D major. It begins with almost maliciously repeated stabs by the violins on D, then F-sharp, and then B, all while the other instruments toodle around the stabs. An entertaining allegro somehow grows out of it and at approximately the two-minute mark, the stabbing, starting on D but wandering elsewhere, returns, then more allegro and some wonderful play for the winds, and then the original stabs at around 3:50, which turns into a full-blown, good-natured allegro event for the whole band before weirding out about 30 seconds from the end by slowing down, entering another key, and melting into the Largo that follows. The calm, pastoral Largo lasts for 90 seconds and then plunges into the busy, presto finale. In 10-and-a-half minutes we’ve been on quite a journey.

These unexpected alterations in mood and tempo become trademarks, but “unexpected” remains the operative word: we know they will show up, but we never quite know when and where. The opening of the F major symphony is something Haydn or Mozart might have composed, but they would not have insisted on interjecting tiny episodes in another key; nor would they, 35 seconds from the end, leave a musical phrase in the middle to darken, shift keys and tempo at the same time, and transition into a very somber viola and cello introduction of the two-minute-long second movement, which then swiftly becomes a charming gigue in which we can practically see country bumpkins dancing about despite intrusions every so often of a note or three chugged out by the low strings.

You also notice his fondness for repeated notes on the strings, but they’re invariably used differently–sometimes to comment, sometimes as a theme (the finale of the A major, which repeats a nice, simple swirling of strings as a main theme, gets punctuated by the stabs as it moves from key to key). And then there’s the B minor, a study in solemnity for the first two movements, with a wild storm as a finale. I could go on, but you get the point: CPE may be stuck in an era, but he’s in his own, excuse the expression, groove, and won’t be boxed in. Always refreshing.

Rebecca Miller leads the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in fearless performances (at A=415, making the keys noted play at a half-tone lower than indicated), using everything from no vibrato to a throbbing warmth in middle movements. The strings are spectacular, at times playing with alarming speed and at others with comfort and tenderness; the winds, popping up all over, are just as good. The CD claims to have been recorded live, but there’s not a peep from the audience. Play these a couple at a time–they look alike but each deserves scrutiny. Like chocolate truffles.

Review by Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com


CPE Bach’s two sets of ‘Hamburg’ symphonies from the 1770s have long been famous for pushing the contemporary musical language to the brink. No other orchestral music of the period, not even Haydn’s so-called Sturm und Drang symphonies, is so consistently disruptive. Bach’s long-range control ensures that chaos is ultimately averted, but it’s a close shave. The symphonies Bach composed two decades earlier in Berlin are far less familiar. Yet the E flat (Wq179), from 1757, is hardly less disturbingly outré than the Hamburg works. The Prestissimo first movement continually wrong-foots the listener with its manic outbursts and weird dislocations, while the contorted, chromatic Larghetto mines CPE’s characteristic vein of brooding Empfindsamkeit. Only the exuberant ‘hunting’ finale suggests anything approaching stability.

Galant decorum simply won’t do in CPE. Not that the OAE needed reminding in these vividly recorded performances from the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Under Rebecca Miller’s inspiriting direction, the crack players tear into the fast movements with disciplined craziness. In the two Hamburg symphonies with wind (Wq183), the orchestra’s tigerish attack and cumulative energy eclipse even the performances they recorded with Gustav Leonhardt in the 1990s (now on Warner Classics, 8/90). The players make you unusually aware of the tense contrapuntal friction between violins and basses, the latter both weighty and athletic. Horns glint and holler through the manic, seething tuttis; flutes and oboes proffer glimpses of precarious calm.

The two Hamburg string symphonies (Wq182) are just as exciting. Antiphonal violins spar edgily, offset by fleeting moments of yearning lyricism. I can’t recall hearing such a viscerally thrilling performance of the finale of the B minor (No 5), with its firestorms and grinding, wailing suspensions. But these performances are not all about seismic shocks. Miller and the players think long, ratcheting up the tension towards Bach’s cadences. And they are closely attuned to the dark, febrile beauty of the slow movements, whether in the long, singing lines, eloquently shaped, of the B minor Symphony’s Larghetto or the shrouded viola-cello duet in the F major (Wq183/3). If you’re still a CPE novice, I can’t think of a better introduction to his brand of inspired eccentricity than these terrific, high-octane performances, live in every sense.

Review by Richard Wigmore, Gramophone


Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Rebecca Miller - C.P.E. Bach: Symphonies (2015)



Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Rebecca Miller - C.P.E. Bach: Symphonies (2015)



Tracklist:

01. Symphony in D major, Wq.183/1 - I. Allegro di molto (06:00)
02. Symphony in D major, Wq.183/1 - II. Largo (01:35)
03. Symphony in D major, Wq.183/1 - III. Presto (03:01)

04. Symphony in A major, Wq.182/4 - I. Allegro, ma non troppo (04:25)
05. Symphony in A major, Wq.182/4 - II. Largo ed innocentemente (03:17)
06. Symphony in A major, Wq.182/4 - III. Allegro assai (04:27)

07. Symphony in B minor, Wq.182/5 - I. Allegretto (04:22)
08. Symphony in B minor, Wq.182/5 - II. Larghetto (02:33)
09. Symphony in B minor, Wq.182/5 - III. Presto (03:47)

10. Symphony in F major, Wq.183/3 - I. Allegro di molto (05:21)
11. Symphony in F major, Wq.183/3 - II. Larghetto (01:57)
12. Symphony in F major, Wq.183/3 - III. Presto (03:17)

13. Symphony in E flat major, Wq.179 - I. Prestissimo (04:22)
14. Symphony in E flat major, Wq.179 - II. Larghetto (03:42)
15. Symphony in E flat major, Wq.179 - III. Presto (04:19)


Exact Audio Copy V1.1 from 23. June 2015

EAC extraction logfile from 28. November 2015, 16:47

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Rebecca Miller / C.P.E. Bach - Symphonies

Used drive : HL-DT-STDVDRAM GU70N Adapter: 1 ID: 0

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Make use of C2 pointers : No

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Null samples used in CRC calculations : Yes
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Used output format : User Defined Encoder
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Add ID3 tag : No
Command line compressor : C:\Program Files (x86)\Exact Audio Copy\Flac\flac.exe
Additional command line options : -V -8 -T "Date=%year%" -T "Genre=%genre%" %source%


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15 | 52:13.20 | 4:19.46 | 234995 | 254465


Range status and errors

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Peak level 97.8 %
Extraction speed 5.0 X
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Test CRC 5CCEDEBD
Copy CRC 5CCEDEBD
Copy OK

No errors occurred


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==== Log checksum 6E63659186228DF418F4A782CF8CFB3EEB54AA741376AFB307ED300271795089 ====

foobar2000 1.2 / Dynamic Range Meter 1.1.1
log date: 2016-11-12 16:53:05

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
Analyzed: Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Rebecca Miller / C.P.E. Bach - Symphonies
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

DR Peak RMS Duration Track
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
DR12 -0.29 dB -16.49 dB 6:01 01-Symphony in D major, Wq.183/1 - I. Allegro di molto
DR13 -6.09 dB -23.75 dB 1:36 02-Symphony in D major, Wq.183/1 - II. Largo
DR13 -0.33 dB -17.64 dB 3:02 03-Symphony in D major, Wq.183/1 - III. Presto
DR12 -1.65 dB -18.53 dB 4:26 04-Symphony in A major, Wq.182/4 - I. Allegro, ma non troppo
DR13 -1.73 dB -20.12 dB 3:17 05-Symphony in A major, Wq.182/4 - II. Largo ed innocentemente
DR14 -1.29 dB -17.71 dB 4:27 06-Symphony in A major, Wq.182/4 - III. Allegro assai
DR13 -1.30 dB -19.06 dB 4:23 07-Symphony in B minor, Wq.182/5 - I. Allegretto
DR13 -1.55 dB -20.71 dB 2:34 08-Symphony in B minor, Wq.182/5 - II. Larghetto
DR15 -1.30 dB -18.55 dB 3:47 09-Symphony in B minor, Wq.182/5 - III. Presto
DR12 -0.19 dB -16.34 dB 5:21 10-Symphony in F major, Wq.183/3 - I. Allegro di molto
DR12 -5.38 dB -22.04 dB 1:57 11-Symphony in F major, Wq.183/3 - II. Larghetto
DR13 -0.30 dB -17.44 dB 3:17 12-Symphony in F major, Wq.183/3 - III. Presto
DR13 -1.20 dB -18.27 dB 4:23 13-Symphony in E flat major, Wq.179 - I. Prestissimo
DR14 -2.84 dB -23.00 dB 3:43 14-Symphony in E flat major, Wq.179 - II. Larghetto
DR14 -0.73 dB -19.18 dB 4:20 15-Symphony in E flat major, Wq.179 - III. Presto
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Number of tracks: 15
Official DR value: DR13

Samplerate: 44100 Hz
Channels: 2
Bits per sample: 16
Bitrate: 715 kbps
Codec: FLAC
================================================================================

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Rebecca Miller - C.P.E. Bach: Symphonies (2015)

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