Miklos Spanyi CPE Bach

The Solo Keyboard Music Volume 33
Miklós Spányi tangent piano
BIS BIS2017

CPE Bach’s solo keyboard compositions help to illuminate the transition from JS Bach to Haydn and Mozart. On this, Volume 33 of BIS’s ambitious project to release all CPE Bach’s keyboard works, Hungarian keyboardist and scholar Miklós Spányi presents work from the third collection of ‘für Kenner und Liebhaber’ (for connoisseurs and amateurs), published between 1779 and 1787.

Spányi performs on a Belgian-made tangent piano – a harpsichord-like early fortepiano – modelled on a late-18th century instrument. Bach himself had access to a wide range of keyboards during the late-18th century boom of clavichord and harpsichord making. Though the resonant environs of Sint-Truiden Abbey in Belgium provide much warmth to the performance, the decision to record with the intimate and delicate tangent piano alone perhaps limits the possibilities for this otherwise sophisticated release.

Nonetheless, Spányi has a profound understanding of the music, and performs with all the variety and nuance embodied in the compositions. CPE Bach’s solo keyboard composition is adventurous and inventive, yet so often ignored. Spányi renders this complex and often strange music intelligible and even familiar; his playing is expressive without being overly subjective. In this volume, therefore, we have another wonderful monument to one of the 18th century’s great composers.