1 CD - 422 349-2 - (p) 1990


Christian RITTER (c.1645-after 1717) Suite in F sharp minor
11' 36"

- Allemande 5' 11"

- Courante 1' 48"

- Sarabande
2' 31"

- Gigue
2' 06"
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Fantasy and Fugue in A minor, BWV 904
7' 33"

- Fantasia 2' 51"

- Fuga 4' 42"

French Suite No. 2 in C minor, BWV 813

11' 11"

- Allemande
3' 13"

- Courante 1' 54"

- Sarabande 2' 18"

- Air 0' 52"

- Menuet 1' 14"

- Gigue
1' 40"
Wilhelm Friedemann BACH (1710-1784) Polonoise in E flat minor

3' 40" 13

Polonoise in E minor
3' 20" 14

Polonoise in F minor
4' 03"
Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Sonata in G minor, Wq 51 No. 6
7' 58"

- Allegro di molto
3' 17"

- Poco adagio
2' 39"

- Allegretto 2' 02"

Sonata in D minor, Wq 51 No. 4

10' 43"

- Allegro assai 2' 15"

- Largo e sostenuto 4' 25"

- Presto 4' 03"

Sonata in B minor / F sharp minor, Wq 63 No. 4
8' 12"

- Allegretto grazioso
2' 35"

- Largo maestoso
3' 29"

- Allegro Siciliano e scherzando
2' 08"

Gustav LEONHARDT, Clavichord


Luogo e data di registrazione
Amsterdam (The Netherlands) - Maggio 1988

Registrazione: live / studio

Artist and reppertoire production

Rupert Fäustle

Recording producer
Mike Bremner

Balance & recording engineer

Hein Dekker

Tape editors

Fiona Gale

Art direction

George Cramer

Prima Edizione LP

Edizione CD
Philips | LC 0305 | 422 349-2 | 1 CD - durata 68' 25" | (p) 1990 | DDD

Cover Art

Photo: Geert Kooiman


Was there any more musical household W than that of Johann Sebastian Bach and his second wife Anna Magdalena? Apart from the great composer himself, the Leipzig home must have rung with the sound of harpsichords, performed first by Wilhelm Friedemann (1710-84) and Carl Philipp Emanuel (1714-88) and later by the younger sons Johann Christoph Friedrich (1732-95) and Johann Christian (1735-82), as well as by many of the other less talented children. It is perhaps no wonder that the quiet-toned clavichord, that most intimate of instruments, barely audible beyond its own soundboard, became the favourite instrument of Emanuel Bach.
Friedemann and Emanuel Bach studied both composition and the keyboard under Johann Sebastian. Both would have been well acquainted with the Second French Suite which Sebastian wrote out in the first “Clavierbüchlein” for Anna Magdalena in the early l720’s. The designation “French” was not supplied by the composer and is something of a misnomer: all six suites are in the standard German layout, in this case with an opening Allemande, followed by a flowing Courante (somewhat Italianate in its smooth contours), a Sarabande, an Air, a Minuet, and a concluding Gigue in 3/8 time, its dotted rhythms at last showing some French characteristics all six movements are in the key of C minor. Dating from around 1725, the Fantasy and Fugue in A minor, BWV 904 would also have been known to the Bach sons. The Fantasy is a finely constructed movement consisting of a richly harmonised refrain, mostly in five real parts, interspersed with lighter, more freely flowing imitative episodes. The long, fleetfooted, and scrupulously diatonic subject of the fugue is offset by a new, chromatic idea, treated fugally, which begins halfway through the movement. The final section of the fugue combines both ideas in a joyous, contrapuntal tour de force.
C.P.E. Bach incorporated a number of his father’s ideas on keyboard technique in his “Versuch über die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen” (Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments). Appended to the first edition of the first part, published in 1753, is a set of 18 “Probestücke,” or sample pieces, divided into six sonatas, illustrative of the main points of the treatise. The fourth sonata has three movements, respectively m B minor, D major, and F sharp minor, the first a ruminative Allegretto grazioso, with swiftly changing textures and moods, redolent of Bach’s concentratedly expressive empfindsamer Stil; the second, marked Largo maestoso begins purposefully enough, but later dissolves into seemingly improvisatory material, closing in F sharp minor, the key of the whimsical finale, an Allegro siciliano e scherzando. The two other sonatas here by Emanuel, in G minor and D minor, both in three movements, were published in Berlin in 1761. While less experimental in language than the “Probestücke,” the two sonatas still contain a number of “dramatic” surprises, such as sudden, crashing chords, as in the Largo e sostenuto of the D minor, and unexpected pauses, as in the finale of the same sonata.
The set of 12 polonaises written around 1765 are among the finest products of Wilhelm Friedernann Bach’s trouble years at Halle (1746-70). These contain many flashes of the empfindsamer Stil, the highly expressive mode of writing more usually associated with C.P.E. Bach. The three polonaises here are all in the minor mode, respectively E flat, E and F, the first and third containing harmonic progressions of extraordinary power and poignancy, and the second containing a highly expressive melody over a jogging bass-line, interrupted at times by arpeggio flourishes.
Like Friedemann Bach, Christian Ritter (c. 1645-after 1717) was an organist at Halle. It is not known when his Suite in F sharp minor was composed. The work is in four movements: an imitative Allemande, a smooth Courant, which, as is customary, shares its opening notes with the previous movement; a Sarabande with two variations, and a lively Gigue, all in the tonic key.
Stephen Roe