1 CD - VC 7 90806-2 - (p) 1990


Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Symphony in D major, Wq. 183/1 (H663)
10' 46"

- Allegro di molto 6' 14"

- Largo
1' 46"

- Presto
2' 42"

Symphony in E flat major, Wq. 183/2 (H664)
9' 35"

- Allegro di molto
4' 14"

- Larghetto 1' 27"

- Presto 3' 53"

Symphony in F major, Wq. 183/3 (H665)
10' 37"

- Allegro di molto 5' 17"

- Larghetto
2' 14"

- Presto 3' 04"

Symphony in G major, Wq. 183/4 (H666)
11' 51"

- Allegro assai 3' 12"

- Poco andante
5' 05"

- Presto 3' 33"

Symphony No. 5 in B minor for Strings and Harpsichord, Wq. 182 (H661)
11' 09"

- Allegretto 4' 01"

- Larghetto 2' 26"

- Presto 4' 26"

- Alison Bury (Leader), Elizabeth Walffisch, Susan Carpenter-Jacobs, Roy Mowatt, Peter Lissauer, Marc Cooper, First violins
- Marshall Marcus, Julie Miller, Pavlo Beznosiuk, Paull Boucher, Nicola Cleminson, Frances Turner. Second violins
- Jan Schlapp, Annette Isserlis, Rosemary Nalden, Jane Compton, Violas
- Susan Sheppard, Suki Towb, Timothy Mason, Cellos
- Chi-chi Nwanoku, Double-bass
- Lisa Beznosiuk, Rachel Brown, Flutes
- Anthony Robson, Richard Earle, Oboes
- Jeremy Ward, Bassoon
- Anthony Halstead, Susan Dent, Horns
- John Toll, Harpsichord

Gustav LEONHARDT, conductor


Luogo e data di registrazione
Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London (England) - Ottobre 1988

Registrazione: live / studio

Nick Parker

Balance engineer

Mark Vigars

Executive Producer

Simon Foster

Prima Edizione LP

Prima Edizione CD
Virgin Classics | LC 7873 | VC 7 90806-2 | 1 CD - durata 54' 15" | (p) 1990 | DDD

Cover Art

View of Hamburg (1750), Engraving by Peter Schenk


In 1767 I was summoned to Hamburg as musical director, replacing the late Kapellmeister Telemann. After repeated amd most respectful requests I was granted leave by the King; and His sister, Her Royal Highness Princess Amalia, did me the honour of appointing me as Her personal Kapellmeister on my departure.
From C.P.E. Bach’s Autobiographical Sketch, translated by C.D. Ebeling.
In March 1768, Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach finally left his post as court harpsichordist to Frederick the Great in Berlin and took up his new position in Hamburg as musical director of the city’s five main churches and Cantor of the Johanneum School. He had felt increasingly stifled during his thirty years in Berlin, where the more conservative music of Graun, Hasse and Quantz was preferred. By contrast, Hamburg, a free Hanseatic city with a lively commercial and intellectual life, offered an altogether more stimulating atmosphere. The music historian Charles Burney, who visited Bach there in 1772, and who left us one of the most revealing descriptions of the composer, wrote of the city that ‘there is an air of chearfulness, industry, plenty, and liberty, in the inhabitants of this place, seldom to be seen in other parts of Germany’.
Bach’s duties in Hamburg resembled those of his late father in Leipzig. But although he was responsible for the huge quantity of music
performed in Hamburg’s churches throughout the year, as well as various teaching activities at the Johanneum, he was able to delegate a certain amount of his work, and to make use of existing music where possible for church performances. This enabled him to take on a wide range of other activities, in particular indulging his entrepreneurial flair for publishing and marketing his own music, as wellas reviving the city’s concert life by giving many performances as keyboard soloist and director.
Ten of Bach’s nineteen symphonies date from his Hamburg years and, together with his keyboard music, are among his finest achievements. The set of six string symphonies Wq.182 (1773) was commissioned by one of Bach’s numerous visitors, Baron Gottfried van Swieten, the Austrian ambassador to Berlin and connoisseur of the arts. He had travelled specially to Hamburg to meet the composer, and it was through him that Bach’s music was 
heard in Vienna, coming to the attention of Mozart and, later, Beethoven. In his commission, van Swieten showed his understanding of Bach’s genius by requesting that he give his musical imagination a completely free rein, ‘without regard to the difficulties of execution which were bound to arise’. As a result, the six works are virtuosic showpieces, full of sparkling invention, and harmonic and dynamic shocks. All of these symphonies are in continuous three-movement form, with dramatic first movements and bipartite, often playful, finales. The fifth symphony is the only one in a minor key, and also differs in having a particularly expressive first movement and a more dramatic finale, with its unstable harmonies producing a feeling of restlessness.
The four ‘orchestral symphonies in twelve obbligato parts’ Wq.183 date from 1775-6 and, unlike the 1773 set, were written for performance in Hamburg. Scored for pairs of horns, flutes and oboes, bassoon, strings and continuo, they seem to have been designed to be heard together, as a letter written by the poet Klopstock on 17 August 1776 suggests: ‘How often we wish you were among us, my dear Schénborn. Yesterday, for example, when
we heard four new symphonies by Bach performed by forty instrumentalists.’ In their treatment of the woodwind in particular these works look back to the concerto grosso, but in almost every other respect they are forwardlooking. Even more than in the six string symphonies, Bach turns his back on the doctrine of unified mood (Affektenlehre ) towards the more expressive world of the Sturm und Drang. Expression, as the late Carl Dahlhaus has pointed out, requires a fusion of originality and intelligibility, and it has often been said by Bach’s contemporaries and by more recent writers, that he erred toward the former. Certainly, the continuous flow of striking ideas, the use of harmonic coups, a wide dynamic range, and sudden pauses to engineer distant key changes all have the effect of clouding a sense of form and giving the impression of an orchestral fantasia. But the opening movement of the D major Symphony, for example, with its gradually intensifying syncopated first subject, is in clearcut sonata form. And the use of a continuousmovement plan with often extensive transitional passages between first and second movements, creates a unity that remains both challenging and satisfying.
Mark Audus, 1990