C. P. E. Bach: Hommage!

Matthias Höfs piccolo trumpet, Christian M. Kunert bassoon, Wolfgand Zerer harpsichord
Es Dur ES 2052
H504, 516–521, 542/5 (aka BWV1020), 545 (aka BWV1031), 552, 578

Not infrequently in these pages one reads how Bach’s music will pretty much work in any medium, and – while few modern musicians have (to my knowledge) gone down that route with the music of his sons, C. P. E. recycled his own material to such an extent that one can surely forgive the present performers for wishing to pay tribute to the man despite an obvious lack of repertoire for their combination. Clearly, had they not been players of such distinction, such a scheme should probably not have been very successful, but when the only thing that one could seriously fault in the performances is the dreaded modern trill with its relentless uniformity, then one gets the measure of the line-up. The harpsichordist uses subtle inégalité and if the trumpeter does no quite respond, he at least shapes the lines with a sense of light and shade that sounds natural. The music chosen for the recital ranges from the flute sonata in E flat, which might be by Bach père, to extracts from the six sonatas for clarinet, bassoon and harpsichord. I did not expect to enjoy this, but was very pleasantly surprised!

Brian Clark