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Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-88)

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Bach, C P E: Die Auferstehung und Himmelfahrt Jesu, Wq. 240 (H777)

Bach, C P E: Die Auferstehung und Himmelfahrt Jesu, Wq. 240 (H777)


Uta Schwabe (soprano), Christoph Genz (tenor) & Stephan Genz (baritone)

Ex Tempore & La Petite Bande, Sigiswald Kuijken

The death of Georg Philipp Telemann in 1767 paved the way for his godson, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach to take up the position of Director of Music in Hamburg. Prior to that C P E Bach had been working for Frederick the Second of Prussia in Berlin but longed for a greater musical freedom and stylistic flexibility that working in Hamburg would offer him. This included the composition of three oratorios, including the one presented here.

C P E Bach worked on The Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus in collaboration with the librettist Karl Wilhelm Ramler from 1781, and in 1787 it was published by Breitkopf. A letter from the composer to his publisher subsequently revealed he considered it to be one of his greatest masterpieces—a reflection agreed upon by audiences at the time, and succeeding generations of composers, including Haydn and Beethoven who both drew inspiration from it.

“Every listening experience should be an adventure, and C P E Bach and Hyperion do not disappoint” The Times

“Stephan Genz is outstanding … a touching and sometimes exciting piece that deserves to be heard for that thrilling chorus alone” BBC Music Magazine

“Sigiswald Kuijken’s lively but sensitive and thoughtful direction, and his attention to details of the instrumental texture, ensure that the work gets the performance it merits. I found it compelling, and warmly recommend it” Gramophone Magazine

“This excellent performance captures the listener’s full attention from the very first note” Daily Telegraph

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Arias for Guadagni

Arias for Guadagni

the first modern castrato


Arne:

Vengeance, O come inspire me! (from Alfred)

Bach, C P E:

Symphony in D major, Wq. 183/1 (H663)

Gluck:

Ah! Non turbi il mio riposo (from Telemaco)

Orfeo ed Euridice (Orphée et Euridice): Dance of the Blessed Spirits

Ahimè! Dove trascorsi? (from Orfeo)

Che faro' senza Euridice? (from Orfeo ed Euridice)

Guadagni:

Pensa a serbarmi, o cara

Handel:

Saul: O Lord, whose mercies numberless

The raptur'd soul (from Theodora)

The Choice of Hercules: Yet can I hear that dulcet lay

Destructive War, thy limits know (from Belshazzar)

Hasse, J A:

Ah che dissi, infelice! (from Didone Abbandonata)

Se resto sul lido (from Didone Abbandonata)

Odi colà la frigia tromba? (from Didone Abbandonata)

A trionfar mi chiama (from Didone Abbandonata)

Smith, J C:

Say, lovely Dream! (from The Fairies)


British countertenor Iestyn Davies is one of the fastest rising stars on the concert and opera circuit. Following his highly acclaimed recording of Porpora cantatas, he returns for a second solo album with Hyperion, a selection of arias written for Gaetano Guadagni. Italian-born Guadagni was the first ‘modern’ castrato, famed all over Europe for the lyric purity of his voice and his powerful, naturalistic acting style. Not only did he enjoy a close artistic relationship with Handel, who nurtured Guadagni’s voice to fit the alto roles in his English oratorios, but he effectively created the role of Orpheus in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, an opera he thoroughly made his own. Here, Iestyn Davies is joined again by the renowned period-instrument band Arcangelo, directed by Jonathan Cohen.

“Davies sings them superlatively well.” Sunday Times, 27th May 2012

“Davies includes some of the showstoppers written for [Guadagni] by Handel and Arne, delivering them with wonderful finesse and flawless tone. Orfeo itself, however, lies awkwardly for a counter-tenor, and Davies is occasionally forced to sacrifice intensity for the sake of integrity of line. The orchestral playing, from Arcangelo under Jonathan Cohen, is exquisite.” The Guardian, 7th June 2012 ****

“I think that if I had to nominate a CD to represent Iestyn Davies this one would be my choice.” International Record Review, July/August 2012

“Through his effortless line, countertenor Iestyn Davies revivifies Guadagni's Orphic powers...Whether drawing out sustained notes or knitting together filigreed coloratura, he is a paragon of gallant taste: poised, cool, elegant...Jonathan Cohen and his ensemble Arcangelo capture the rapid, unexpected twists of the younger Bach's radical imagination...this [is] a refreshingly ambitious and superbly realised recording.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2012 *****

GGramophone Awards 2012

Best of Category - Recital

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2012

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Bach: Flute Sonatas

Bach: Flute Sonatas


Bach, C P E:

Violin Sonata in G minor (BWV 1020), (H542.5)

Bach, J S:

Flute Sonata No. 2 in E flat major, BWV1031

Flute Sonata No. 4 in C major, BWV1033

Flute Sonata No. 5 in E minor, BWV1034

Flute Sonata No. 6 in E major, BWV1035

Flute Sonata No. 1 in B minor, BWV1030


Andrea Oliva (flute) & Angela Hewitt (piano)

Fans of Angela Hewitt will be delighted to find her in chamber mode, accompanying Andrea Oliva (described as ‘one of the best flutists of his generation, a shining star in the world of the flute’ by Sir James Galway) in a programme of J S Bach’s flute sonatas (including one by his most famous and talented son, CPE). Of unfailingly remarkable quality, all these works exploit the full potential of an instrument which was only just coming into its own when they were written. Oliva’s lyricism and agility coupled with Hewitt’s musicianship—not to mention her lifelong rapport with Bach’s music—make this an album to treasure.

“Hewitt, of course, is a model of discretion and elegance, and – despite some self-consciously moulded phrasing – Oliva's playing is generally immaculate.” The Guardian, 14th February 2013 ***

“Hewitt has never tried merely to copy the character and techniques of harpsichord on the piano. Rather, she translates one to the other, capitalising on their differences...[Oliva's] modern silver flute has a glorious shimmering quality and an even tone...[His] breath control is astonishing...Hewitt's clean articulation exemplary...this is an inspired modern-instrument take on Bach.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2013 ****

“Oliva is alert to the stylistic nuances, both Baroque and galant, inherent in these works...What makes this recording stand out is Oliva and Hewitt's consummate musicality and palpable sense of ease, whatever the demands of the music.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2013

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CPE Bach: Cello Concertos

CPE Bach: Cello Concertos


Bach, C P E:

Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Wq. 170 (H432)

Cello Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Wq. 171 (H436)

Cello Concerto No. 3 in A major, Wq. 172 (H439)


The unpredictable and ‘fantastical’ qualities which are so fundamental to the music of C P E Bach are here given free rein by Nicolas Altstaedt, aided and abetted by Jonathan Cohen and Arcangelo in performances of astonishing brio.

“Nicolas Altstaedt and the sinewy warmth of his 1760 Gigli are a great fit for this often rather wild music…Arcangelo under Cohen breathe the music, capturing the frequent storminess but also bringing substantial dignity, their zing coming from their actual tone and lucid textural balance…a great listen” Gramophone Magazine, September 2016

“Whether intended for cello or harpsichord, these oeuvres are feverishly inventive” Financial Times, September 2016

“This recording captures all the fiery wit of orchestral-soloist banter.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2016

“If not the best introduction to CPE Bach, then surely an important part of a good collection of his work.” MusicWeb International, 23rd November 2016

Presto Discs of 2016

Finalist

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - November 2016

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2017

Concerto Winner

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CPE Bach: Keyboard Sonatas Volume 1

CPE Bach: Keyboard Sonatas Volume 1


Bach, C P E:

Keyboard Sonata in G minor, Wq. 65/17 (H47)

Sonata in A major (Prussian Sonata No. 6), Wq. 48/6 (H29)

Sonata in B flat major (Prussian Sonata No. 2), Wq. 48/2 (H25)

Sonata in C minor (Prussian Sonata No. 4), Wq. 48/4 (H27)

Keyboard Sonata in E flat major, Wq. 52/1 (H50)


Danny Driver (piano)

The pianist Danny Driver has garnered the highest possible praise for his two York Bowen discs on Hyperion. Now, demonstrating his extraordinary versatility, he turns to a composer from a very different age—yet one who has been similarly overlooked by the musical establishment, while always having a place in the heart of connoisseurs of arcane keyboard music.

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714–1788), second son of Johann Sebastian, was both revered and criticized by his contemporaries for his bold departures from conventional modes of musical expression. He perfected a highly original and intensely personal compositional style known as the empfindsamer Stil (literally, the ‘sensitive style’). As the works on this recording show, Bach’s approach to musical expressiveness found voice in frequent mood changes, abundant rests and ‘sighing’ motifs, the juxtaposition of contrasting rhythmic figures, deceptive cadences, and dramatic, rhetorical harmonic interjections. Bach became particularly renowned for his ability to improvise fantasias—seemingly free-form, stream-of-consciousness flights of fancy characterized by unmeasured rhythm and distant harmonic excursions. Yet underlying even the most improvisatory of his compositions is a coherent structure.

Emanuel Bach’s music breaks dramatically away from, yet also builds upon, the early eighteenth-century style perfected by his father. His compositions mark one of the first—and among the most inspired—repudiations of the baroque aesthetic, in which a single unified mood dominates each movement. Emanuel Bach composed more than three hundred keyboard works during his lifetime—all of the works on this recording were composed during the 1740s, while in the service of King Frederick II of Prussia.

“Danny Driver...makes his superlative case for music that is as inventive as it is unsettling. Playing with imperturbable authority, he captures all the mercurial fits and starts of the G minor Sonata...It would be impossible to over-estimate Driver's impeccable technique and musicianship...This is surely one of the finest of all recent keyboard issues.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2010

“[CPE Bach] was no pale imitation of his father. He had ideas of his own, as the bristling, thoughtful and imaginative playing on this disc testifies...Driver meets the interpretative challenges with a lively mind, dexterity and warm sensibility in a way that brings CPE Bach’s startling originality sharply into focus.” The Telegraph, 18th June 2010 *****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2010

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CPE Bach: Keyboard Sonatas Volume 2

CPE Bach: Keyboard Sonatas Volume 2


Bach, C P E:

Keyboard Sonata in F sharp minor, Wq. 52/4 (H37)

Keyboard Sonata in C minor, Wq. 65/31 (H121)

Sonata in A major, Wq. 65/32 (H135)

Free Fantasia, for keyboard in F sharp minor, H300/Wq67

Rondo in D minor, Wq. 61/4 (H290)


Danny Driver (piano)

Hyperion presents a second volume of CPE Bach’s startlingly original and inventive keyboard sonatas. This release spans the composer’s career, taking the listener from the highly expressive manner of his early works to his mastery of the Classical style—in which he still retains the distinctive characteristics, the fantastical changes of mood and tempo which both astounded and perplexed his contemporaries.

Danny Driver proves a peerless guide to this fascinating music, performing with elegance and vigour.

“Danny Driver is intimately in touch with the fluctuations of the musical language....His feel for the harmonic explorations in the slow movement [of the E major Sonata] 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 Telegraph, 2nd November 2012 *****

“Driver revels in Emanuel's idiosyncrasies, underlining the spontaneous and edgier qualities in the composer's Empfindsamer stil (sensitive style).” BBC Music Magazine, January 2013 ****

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CPE Bach: Württemberg Sonatas

CPE Bach: Württemberg Sonatas


Bach, C P E:

Keyboard Sonata in A minor, Wq. 49/1 (H30) 'Württemberg Sonata No. 1'

Keyboard Sonata in A flat major, Wq. 49/2 (H31) 'Württemberg Sonata No. 2'

Keyboard Sonata in E minor, Wq. 49/3 (H33) 'Württemberg Sonata No. 3'

Keyboard Sonata in B flat major, Wq. 49/4 (H32) 'Württemberg Sonata No. 4'

Keyboard Sonata in E flat major, Wq. 49/5 (H34) 'Württemberg Sonata No. 5'

Keyboard Sonata in B minor, Wq. 49/6 (H36) 'Württemberg Sonata No. 6'


Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord)

‘This Iranian-American has carved out a niche as his instrument’s leading champion … his success is founded on remarkable artistry’ (International Piano)

‘Such virtuosity and disarming presentation suggests that Esfahani could inspire a whole new appreciation of the instrument’ (The Guardian)

Hyperion is delighted to present the debut recording of the wonderful young harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani. He was the first harpsichordist to be named a BBC New Generation Artist or to be awarded a fellowship prize by the Borletti-Buitoni Trust.

Here Mahan Esfahani has recorded CPE Bach’s six ‘Württemberg’ sonatas, which were written in 1742–3 and published in 1744, and his thrillingly intense performances make the best possible case for this dramatic, beautifully written, endlessly imaginative but for some reason under-performed music. The sonatas range stylistically from initial stirrings of Sturm und Drang in keyboard music to sublime imitations of the human voice, with nods to the High Baroque and the idiom of CPE Bach’s more famous father. Mahan writes in his booklet notes that ‘Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach makes the most combative statement possible to assert his new musical language’.

“The sound of his instrument...enjoys a wide-ranging spectrum of timbres in Esfahani’s dexterous hands, but it is the verve of his allegros and the affecting pathos of his slow movements that mark him out as a special interpreter of this fascinating composer’s music in his tercentenary year.” Sunday Times, 12th January 2014

“Esfahani's at his most expressive in the slow movements...This, his first solo disc, provides a particularly welcome introduction onto the world stage for an artist matching, in expression CPE Bach himself.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2014 *****

“Esfahani's performances wonderfully convey the sense of the younger Bach flexing his muscles in the new musical language that he was involved in creating.... there's an almost fortepiano-like solidity to the sound, with crisp definition in both the high and low registers that matches its expressive ambitions perfectly.” The Guardian, 23rd January 2014 ****

“Esfahani makes coherence out of apparent incoherence...As for his playing, in the best sense it is anything but unpredictable: sure-minded and vividly realized, it holds the attention with ease and is a pleasure to hear. This is an excellent recording and it can be thoroughly recommended.” International Record Review, February 2014

“Esfahani’s booklet-note provides the listener with a convivial commentary in which he draws attention to CPE Bach’s ‘Janus-like musical personality’...The elusive fusion of thematic intricacy, ‘Baroque’ rhetoric and ‘proto-Classical’ Sturm und Drang offered by the instrument are caught perfectly by Esfahani’s supple touch and disarming sense of rhetorical pacing.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2014

Presto Discs of 2014

Finalist

GGramophone Awards 2014

Winner - Baroque Instrumental

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - February 2014

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - February 2014

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2015

Newcomer Award

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Haydn & CPE Bach: Cello Concertos

Haydn & CPE Bach: Cello Concertos


Bach, C P E:

Cello Concerto No. 3 in A major, Wq. 172 (H439)

Boccherini:

Cello Concerto No. 7 in G major, G 480: Adagio

Haydn:

Cello Concerto No. 1 in C major, Hob. VIIb:1

Cello Concerto No. 2 in D major, Hob. VIIb:2 (Op. 101)

Mozart:

Geme la tortorella (from La finta giardiniera)

arr. for cello by Steven Isserlis


Read our exclusive interview with Steven Isserlis about the recording here.

If the two Haydn concertos are the most accomplished contributions to the cello’s burgeoning repertoire written in the eighteenth century, the CPE Bach coupling is scarcely less fine. Two charmingly rococo encores complete this latest essential release from Steven Isserlis.

“This recording is a real tonic. I defy anyone not to smile at Steven Isserlis’s effervescent readings of Haydn’s graceful and urbane cello concertos...He spins an exquisitely light and agile line, maintaining a delightfully sunny disposition, even in each concerto’s adagio...The Bremen players add just the right degree of elegance and poise to make this a CD to treasure.” The Observer, 10th September 2017 *****

“His partnership with the brilliant Bremen orchestra is a musical marriage made in heaven.” Sunday Times, 10th September 2017

“These interpretations sing of an artist still thoroughly in tune with his prevoius thoughts, but who is keen to develop those ideas further. He's supported every step of the way in this pursuit by the warmly responsive Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen...Isserlis's 1998 recording [of the Haydn] remains classy stuff, but this has superbly trumped it.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2017

GGramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - Awards Issue 2017

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La Folia

La Folia


Bach, C P E:

Twelve Variationen über die Folie d'Espagne, Wq118/9/H263

Corelli:

Violin Sonata Op. 5 No. 12 in D minor (La folia)

Geminiani, F:

Concerto grosso after Corelli, No. 12 in D minor 'La Folia'

Marais, M:

Pièces de viole, Book II: Les Folies d'Espagne

Scarlatti, A:

Folia from Toccata No. 7 (Primo tono) from the Primo e Secondo Libro di Toccate

Vivaldi:

Trio Sonata, Op. 1 No. 12 for Two Violins & Continuo in D minor, RV 63 'La Follia'


Robert Woolley (harpsichord)

The Purcell Quartet, The Purcell Band

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