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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: 4 minutes 12 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)

Rondo in D minor, H290 Wq61/4

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Rondo in D minor H290 (Wq61/4) dates from 1785, nearly two decades after C P E Bach moved to Hamburg. At this point in his life the composer was concerned not only with securing his legacy (he drafted a catalogue of his works that was published after his death) but also with appearing up to date, presumably in part to enhance the sales of his published music. Light, carefree movements such as rondos were à la mode. In fact, in some of his late sonatas Bach curtailed his slow movements, or even omitted them entirely, because, as he noted in a letter to his publisher Breitkopf, Adagio movements were ‘no longer fashionable’. Nevertheless, this particular rondo contains the type of instability and irregular phrase structure that marked many of Bach’s early pieces. The opening theme, ending with a strong cadence on the tonic, is eleven bars long. It returns in full only at the end. In the middle, Bach inserts hints of it, and, during the second developmental interlude, he brings back its opening part several times in the wrong key. (One is again reminded of Beethoven, who frequently used the same device—as in, to cite one example, the finale of his string quartet Op 18 No 6.) The Rondo in D minor is full of Bach’s characteristic sudden rests and changes of mood. Thus he succeeded, in this late work, in recalling some of the most delightful elements of a personal style he had developed over the previous forty years, but at the same time embedding these traits in a thoroughly Classical aesthetic.

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

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