Hyperion Records

Sonata in E flat major, H34
composer
1742/3, published in 1744; No 5 of Württemberg Sonatas, Wq49

Recordings
'Bach (CPE): Württemberg Sonatas' (CDA67995)
Bach (CPE): Württemberg Sonatas
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Details
Movement 1: Allegro
Movement 2: Adagio
Movement 3: Allegro assai

Sonata in E flat major, H34
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The brilliant Sonata in E flat major is one of the most sunny and extroverted utterances of the mid-eighteenth century. The first movement is characterized by its varied melodic contour, giving the impression of a fish leaping out of the water in the first bar, then falling immediately back in, and on each successive jump leaping and frolicking in a slightly different way. In contrast to this playful first idea, a second theme enters with great pathos, giving way once more to a feeling of elation stated in the most flamboyant manner with descending cascades of notes. Here Emanuel Bach truly shows his mettle as the master of a new aesthetic, as he uses unprepared chords, whether consonant or dissonant, to underline the affective momentum of his melodies. No longer must a composer depend on the Baroque method by which harmonies occur as a confluence of prepared contrapuntal lines.

The second movement’s fugal quality recalls the middle movement of the previous sonata in B flat major. As with that work, the idea of fugue is used as a topos or prop in order to highlight certain emotionally charged intervals, in this case an ascending seventh followed by a descending semitone in the opening theme. Bach uses a secondary theme in running semiquavers to give harmonic momentum and put the first theme into metrical relief.

The splendid third movement combines virtuosity with a cheeky sense for drama as a repeating-note figure propels moments of suspense. The composer makes use of the contrast between the rich lower register of the keyboard and the fast-speaking higher register’s shrill cantabile.

from notes by Mahan Esfahani © 2014

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA67995 track 14
Adagio
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-14-99514
Duration
3'23
Recording date
4 January 2013
Recording venue
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Tim Oldham
Recording engineer
David Hinitt
Hyperion usage
  1. Bach (CPE): Württemberg Sonatas (CDA67995)
    Disc 1 Track 14
    Release date: January 2014
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