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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: 13 minutes 26 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 A major, H135 Wq65/32
1758 or later

Allegro  [5'38]
Allegretto  [2'39]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Sonata in A major H135 (Wq65/32) takes us into a Classical sound world. The piece also exists in a version for organ (H133); but in both fast movements of the harpsichord adaptation Bach inserted varied reprises for each section of the binary form. As in his collection of six Reprisen-Sonaten published in 1760 (two years after this sonata was composed), the alterations to each reprise are not simply ornamental, but more like variations over a fixed harmonic scheme. In the introduction of his 1760 collection, Bach explained that his aim in publishing such varied reprises was to provide performers ‘with a simple means of gaining the satisfaction of adding some alterations to the pieces they perform, without needing to invent such alterations themselves or rely on others to write something that they will learn only after a great deal of effort’. The parenthetical interjections so typical of Bach’s earlier sonatas are lacking in this work, although the sonata shows his characteristic (and now finely developed) harmonic invention. The opening movement also features a wonderful written-out cadenza that recalls some of the startling excursions for which Bach had become renowned. In contrast to his early works, all of the movements of this sonata flow in continuous and balanced phrases. In fact, both the slow movement and the finale are based on a series of eight-bar units. In the Andante con tenerezza, the opening theme (four bars leading to a deceptive cadence balanced by a further four to a full cadence) is immediately repeated with variation and later reappears two more times, subjected to Bach’s imaginative variation writing. The finale is based on a reverse dotted, or so-called Scotch snap, rhythm.

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

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