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Hyperion Records

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The Waterfall at Tivoli (1785) by Jacob-Philippe Hackert (1737-1807)
Hamburger Kunsthalle, Germany / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67908
Recording details: January 2012
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by John Fraser
Engineered by Arne Akselberg
Release date: November 2012
Total duration: 11 minutes 57 seconds

'Driver revels in CPE Bach's idiosyncrasies, underlining the spontaneous and edgier qualities in the composer's Empfindsamer stil… an unusual and fascinating programme' (BBC Music Magazine)

'CPE Bach is the perfect embodiment of the rebellious son. His keyboard sonatas sparkle with the brilliant counterpoint learned from his father Johann Sebastian but are punctuated with passages that are decidedly his own … thrillingly played by Danny Driver … immensely rewarding listening' (The Observer)

'In this sequel to his first disc of CPE Bach Keyboard Sonatas (CDA67786), Danny Driver is intimately in touch with the fluctuations of the musical language. The E major sonata shows Bach exploiting sharp contrasts between loud and soft, aspects that Driver points up in a way that underlines the music’s energy and momentum. His feel for the harmonic explorations in the slow movement and the rhythmic mischievousness of the finale likewise echoes the music’s spirit … Driver plays with an imagination and subtlety fully equal to Bach’s own' (The Daily Telegraph)

'As with most keyboard music of the eighteenth century, in the hands of a sympathetic player the essence can be fully conveyed by means of the modern concert grand piano … Driver's musicianship here is exemplary—not only possessing a technique second to none but also a comprehensive grasp which gets to the heart of this by no means straightforward music … Driver is superb at striking exactly the right tone for this music, laying it out before us with clarity yet also subtly underpinning the slyly expressive nature of the music … the recording is consistently in accord with Hyperion's best quality and the booklet notes by Leta Miller are a model of informed scholarship' (International Record Review)

'Driver's approach is impressive in many ways. Every keystroke is perfectly sprung, with fast, detached playing sounding pristine but never clipped. The three voices in the slow movement from the Sonata in F sharp minor, Wq 52/4 are impeccably balanced, their transparency provoking a closeness of listening that creates deep engagement. The disc's fabulous engineering brings the piano up close with an attractive liveliness' (International Piano)

Sonata in C minor, H121 Wq65/31
1757; published in 1792

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Sonata in C minor H121 (Wq65/31) dates from 1757, more than a decade after H37 and H39. In this dark work the contrasts between forte and piano phrases that were so important in H39 are further amplified and extended. All three movements contain such contrasts—creating a unifying theme within the sonata as a whole. However, the dialogue created through continuous dynamic oscillation is most poignant in the slow middle movement, marked Andantino pathetico. Here Bach sets up a rhetorical interchange between extroverted forte exclamations that suggest large orchestral tuttis and introspective quiet passages that evoke the reflections of a lone solo voice. The movement consists of an alternation between these two elements, much like the slow movement of Beethoven’s fourth Piano Concerto. H121 was published posthumously in 1792. Might Beethoven, who acknowledged his indebtedness to C P E Bach (and whose concerto movement has often been compared to Orfeo’s battle with the furies in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice), perhaps have known Bach’s sonata? The orchestral character of the forte passages in this movement is reinforced in the outer movements of the sonata—particularly in several strong declamatory passages in octaves.

from notes by Leta Miller © 2012
University of California, Santa Cruz

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