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Wilhelm Friedmann Bach: Claviermusik 1

Album Summary

>Bach, Wilhelm F. : Overture for keyboard in E flat major, (BR A59)
>Bach, Wilhelm F. : Concerto for solo keyboard in G major, F. 40 (BR A13a-b)
>Bach, Wilhelm F. : Keyboard Sonata in F major, F. 202 (BR A10)
>Bach, Wilhelm F. : Keyboard Sonata in D major, F. 3 (BR A4)
>Bach, Wilhelm F. : Minuet for keyboard in F major, F. 208 (BR A50) (also attrib. to C.P.E. Bach)
>Bach, Wilhelm F. : Fantasia for keyboard in D minor, (BR A105) (doubtful)
>Bach, Wilhelm F. : Fantasia for keyboard in E minor, F. 21 (BR A24)
Composer

Notes & Reviews:

This first volume in a new series devoted to the music of W.F. Bach presents a series of late works that have previously been unknown (four world premiere recordings) combined with some earlier pieces. Léon Berben is considered a master harpsichordist. His extensive knowledge of music history and historical performance practice make him one of the leading figures among the younger generation of the early music world.

All Music Guide - Patsy Morita
Although the music of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach straddles the Baroque and Classical periods, his keyboard works are more frequently performed on the harpsichord rather than on a fortepiano or modern piano. Compared to the contemporary music of Haydn, Mozart, and even C.P.E. Bach, there is something old-fashioned about W.F.'s compositions that suit the older instrument.

Léon Berben's first volume of W.F. Bach's keyboard music contains several premiere recordings that clearly demonstrate those qualities. The selections span Bach's entire career as a composer, but they all seem to sit more comfortably toward the Baroque era. They are highly ornamented and use forms that J.S. Bach would have recognized, for example the Menuett with its variations or the solo concerto. The Overture in E flat really harkens back to earlier times and sounds. Even the sonatas have a stateliness to them that is given added elegance by the instrument Berben is using. He has a facility with the music and instrument that at times recalls the incredible dexterity and speed of Gustav Leonhardt, especially in the Fantasia in E minor. That work alternates showy runs with more pensive episodes and includes some of Bach's quirkier key modulations near its end. All of these pieces, even the more animated and dance-like movements, have an air of reflection or philosophizing about them, seeming to bridge the cerebral qualities of his father's music with the more transparently expressive music of his brother C.P.E. Bach. Berben makes this point well without overdoing any rubato, and the only truly obvious use of harpsichord stops to change timbre and mood is in the unauthenticated Fantasia in D minor. It's nice to hear a wider variety of W.F. Bach's keyboard music than just his set of Polonaises and to hear what sets him apart from the rest of his family and contemporaries. It will be interesting to know what Berben finds for the next volumes as well.

Gramophone Magazine
It's good that this disc is billed as the first of a series devoted to [WF Bach's ] keyboard music...and all the better that this particular recording, by Dutch keyboardist Leon Berben, is very fine...what's beyond doubt is the charm and variety Freidemann brings to even the slightest pieces: the tiny Minuet with variations imparts an ingenious solution to a rountine formal problem.

MusicWeb International
[Berben's] technical skills guarantee that the virtuosic character of the fast movements comes off perfectly, but there is no lack of expression in the slow movements either. An essential feature of his interpretation is that the many surprises Friedemann has installed for us come into their own here...In short, this disc is an absorbing musical picture of a brilliant mind.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: WDR Funkhaus, Kleiner Saal, Köln (01/29/2010-01/31/2010).



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Works Details

>Bach, Wilhelm F. : Overture for keyboard in E flat major, (BR A59)
  • Notes: WDR Funkhaus, Kleiner Saal, Köln (01/29/2010-01/31/2010)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 43 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Orchestral

>Bach, Wilhelm F. : Concerto for solo keyboard in G major, F. 40 (BR A13a-b)
  • Notes: WDR Funkhaus, Kleiner Saal, Köln (01/29/2010-01/31/2010)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: circa 1740

>Bach, Wilhelm F. : Keyboard Sonata in F major, F. 202 (BR A10)
  • Notes: WDR Funkhaus, Kleiner Saal, Köln (01/29/2010-01/31/2010)
  • Running Time: 9 min. 40 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: circa 1735

>Bach, Wilhelm F. : Keyboard Sonata in D major, F. 3 (BR A4)
  • Notes: WDR Funkhaus, Kleiner Saal, Köln (01/29/2010-01/31/2010)
  • Running Time: 21 min. 13 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1745

>Bach, Wilhelm F. : Minuet for keyboard in F major, F. 208 (BR A50) (also attrib. to C.P.E. Bach)
  • Notes: WDR Funkhaus, Kleiner Saal, Köln (01/29/2010-01/31/2010)
  • Period Time: Baroque

>Bach, Wilhelm F. : Fantasia for keyboard in D minor, (BR A105) (doubtful)
  • Notes: WDR Funkhaus, Kleiner Saal, Köln (01/29/2010-01/31/2010)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque

>Bach, Wilhelm F. : Fantasia for keyboard in E minor, F. 21 (BR A24)
  • Notes: WDR Funkhaus, Kleiner Saal, Köln (01/29/2010-01/31/2010)
  • Running Time: 9 min. 54 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: circa 1770-1775