This disc is, rather remarkably, volume 31 in Miklós Spányi’s complete keyboard works of CPE Bach, so it’s safe to say he knows what he’s doing! This disc includes several sonatas from Bach’s 1778 collection Six Sonatas for Connoisseurs and Amateurs.
I have to admit a certain fondness for just how odd CPE Bach’s music is, with his sudden melodic shifts and startling key changes. Bach’s left-of-centre keyboard writing is best exemplified by the charmingly experimental Sonata No 5 in F, which begins by teasing the audience with two false starts (first in C Minor, then D Minor), before beginning properly in F Major. It begins with a noble phrase that sounds like a precursor to Haydn. Similarly, the sparse second movement and sprightly third bounce along with enthusiasm, walking the fine line of being appealing without being cloying.
The clavichord is a surprisingly quiet instrument – I saw one played in a small hall once to no more than 20 people, and the instrument still required amplification. I think that the recording in this case is a little too detailed – although we get a wonderfully close-up sound of the instrument itself, most of the more expressive passages come complete with hearty breathing sounds as well. Putting the unintentional accompaniment aside, this disc is another fine entry in Spányi’s ongoing series.