Lavishly decorated, melodically and rhythmically erratic, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s keyboard music speaks of that period between the Baroque and Classical periods when music was volatile and experimental. CPE’s music was lauded in its day, inspiring the next generation of composers.
Russian early music specialist Alexei Lubimov has developed a program of keyboard works, exploring the composer’s rich and extravagant personality.
Featured on this disc is the tangent piano, a rare instrument with greater dynamic range than the earlier harpsichord, and with stops combining the effects of the harpsichord, clavichord, fortepiano, and harp. Lubimov notes there wasn’t just one keyboard instrument in use in CPE’s time, and uses the rich tone and colour possibilities of the tangent piano to explore the variegated sound-world of the ‘Hamburg Bach’.
Lubimov’s title, Tangere (to touch), is an apt descriptor for this collection of fantasies, sonatas, rondos, and solfeggi, which are all about elaborate and detailed finger patterns. Lubimov meets the technical and musical demands with aplomb, balancing expressivity with a nuanced approach to articulation of line and ornament. The music sparkles and froths under his fingers in the more intricate passages, and is equally dark and reflective when the mood changes. The varied timbres of the tangent piano also make for a satisfying contrast throughout.