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Friday, January 27, 2017

C.P.E. Bach, Organ Sonatas, Iain Quinn

If Johann Sebastian Bach's organ music was the sound of God, C.P.E.Bach's was more properly the sound of humanity. The fugues and toccatas of father Johann exuded a heavenly mystery; son C.P.E kept closer to earth; Johann's organ swells were a mighty roar, some of the loudest music on earth at the time; C.P.E.'s Organ Sonatas (Naxos 8.573424) had a chamber intimacy.

I've lived with these sonatas since young adulthood, on an old Arion LP by I do not remember whom. The perfomances had a classical balance and sprightly quality that I hear again happily in the new Naxos recording by Iain Quinn. We get the Sonatas H. 135, H. 85-87, and H. 134. These were written for Frederick the Great's sister Princess Anna Amalia during Bach's tenure as court composer and instrumentalist for the music-loving king.

They reflect a less-than-virtuoso ability that C.P.E. had on the organ as compared with his father (C.P.E. was more a master of the clavichord). But then again they have a beautifully ornate, lyrically robust approach that mark them as charming and uniquely memorable.

Iain Quinn gives us performances that do full justice to the music's fine architecture and lyricism.

Worth every penny at the Naxos price and a significant addition to your library.

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