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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I was just looking on naxos, which is a good source usually, and was appalled at the lack of available recordings of these masterworks of CPE Bach on the clavichord. There is only the Miklos Spanyi on clavichord recording and I don't like the way he plays them(too slow) or the way it's miked or both. The rest are all on harpsichord, which is a travesty, considering that these sonatas were written for an instrument with dynamics and just the thought that I'm missing that annoys me. I don't think the timbre of the instrument suits it at all. And then there are the eccentric recordings of Glenn Gould, that mess up the music so much it's just too annoying.

Why aren't good pianists on the modern piano recording these works? I have looked through them and these are just as worthy in their own right as the sonatas of Mozart and Haydn, but from an early date. They are seminal works, very pioneering and though CPE Bach is experiencing growing interest these cornerstones of his keyboard output are sadly neglected. And clavichord players other than Spanyi who paint the most of the output of CPE with the same brush of slow playing, with the exception of some recordings with some life. And I'm sorry to be so blunt because I hear Spanyi is a very nice guy and I love the concept of what he's doing. But I need more action!

And then I operate under the mistaken impression that naxosmusiclibrary, as lovely as it is, is in fact representative of all that has been done. But it's not comprehensive. Maybe there are recordings on other labels out there that naxos doesn't include. I will confess honestly to talkclassical that this dilemma is at the root of why I aspire to become a much better pianist and clavichord player.

End rant.

Also, I misspelled Wurttemberg, whoops.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
We need more straightforward recordings like this one by Marc Andre Hamelin
, who could maybe slow down quite a bit and could use some more expressive color, but still has the right idea and is fun to listen to. A middle ground between this brisk and mechanical rendition, and the overly done up versions. And this isn't a Wurttemberg or Prussian, but it's still an excellent one. There are also some other wonderful sets like the varied reprise sonatas.

Perhaps Arthur Balsam's old rendition is much more expressive and still pretty taught on this same sonata:
 

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Wonderful works, especially the Prussians! I have heard that they were widely known in the 18thc and I have always imagined, based on no historical data whatever, that Beethoven must have known them well.

Wish I had a good recommendation for performances.
 

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I was just looking on naxos, which is a good source usually, and was appalled at the lack of available recordings of these masterworks of CPE Bach on the clavichord. There is only the Miklos Spanyi on clavichord recording and I don't like the way he plays them(too slow) or the way it's miked or both. The rest are all on harpsichord, which is a travesty, considering that these sonatas were written for an instrument with dynamics and just the thought that I'm missing that annoys me. I don't think the timbre of the instrument suits it at all. And then there are the eccentric recordings of Glenn Gould, that mess up the music so much it's just too annoying.

Why aren't good pianists on the modern piano recording these works? I have looked through them and these are just as worthy in their own right as the sonatas of Mozart and Haydn, but from an early date. They are seminal works, very pioneering and though CPE Bach is experiencing growing interest these cornerstones of his keyboard output are sadly neglected. And clavichord players other than Spanyi who paint the most of the output of CPE with the same brush of slow playing, with the exception of some recordings with some life. And I'm sorry to be so blunt because I hear Spanyi is a very nice guy and I love the concept of what he's doing. But I need more action!

And then I operate under the mistaken impression that naxosmusiclibrary, as lovely as it is, is in fact representative of all that has been done. But it's not comprehensive. Maybe there are recordings on other labels out there that naxos doesn't include. I will confess honestly to talkclassical that this dilemma is at the root of why I aspire to become a much better pianist and clavichord player.

End rant.

Also, I misspelled Wurttemberg, whoops.
You want to play clavichord and you want to play fast. Can you upload a performance of you playing something?

Asperen recorded them very well IMO. On harpsichord.

Are there dynamic markings in the score?

Leonhardt uses a piano for CPEB rondos, for the sonatas he used a harpsichord and for the fantasies he used a clavichord. I wonder why. I've heard modern piano recordings from Danny Driver and from Anna Matija Markovina, but I can't remember anything about them. And I've got a feeling that Jocelyne Cuiller used a clavichord for some of them -- one or tweo of them -- on the CD called "for Yukio" -- I could be wrong. She's good I think, expressive. That won't suit you.

By the way, do you really think these are as good as Haydn and Mozart at their best? I like the Kenner and Liebhaber sonatas more as you know, I think we've talked about this before. I also like nuanced expressive clavichord playing, so I guess we just don't agree about much.

I think you will like Belder's CPEB. I didn't, because, if I remember right, it had the things you're after.

Another one to try is Tilney. They're Prussian sonatas I think, on clavichord.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I have heard some of Tilney's work and I like it better. And who'd have thunk it? I do like what I've heard of some of Belder. And if Paul Simmonds did more CPE Bach in a similar vein to the Wolf sonatas he's done, that would be ideal, because I really admire his playing. Yeah, the slow nuanced playing just restrains CPE Bach into this narrow niche of early music geekdom(which is fine in its own right, but there are more possibilities), when he could reach a much wider audience of classical music fans.

I think CPE Bach at his best was nearly as good Mozart and Haydn on the keyboard, but with a different stylistic idiom that really can't be compared. They were able to feed on his innovations and generate more refined things, but that doesn't diminish the rough inventive quality of many of these works.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
You want to play clavichord and you want to play fast. Can you upload a performance of you playing something?

I like the Kenner and Liebhaber sonatas more as you know, I think we've talked about this before. I also like nuanced expressive clavichord playing, so I guess we just don't agree about much.
That would be good to do! I think I could produce something to at least have some people on youtube grateful that I did it. I will upload when I have something adequately prepared and I either possess a better clavichord than I currently do(I currently have a kit thing that is good for practicing but is simply too quiet to record satisfactorily), or my friend/mentor who owns a Potvlieghe clavichord agrees to let me record on his. I am currently working on a varied reprise sonata in G major.

Kenner and Liebhaber are great too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Wonderful works, especially the Prussians! I have heard that they were widely known in the 18thc and I have always imagined, based on no historical data whatever, that Beethoven must have known them well.

Wish I had a good recommendation for performances.
I can't confirm it for you, but I vaguely recall reading a second hand quote of Beethoven's(some person who knew him saying what he said), of him saying that he would see old copies of CPE Bach sonatas and wonder why nobody played them anymore, saying they contained much good music.
 

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I have heard some of Tilney's work and I like it better. And who'd have thunk it? I do like what I've heard of some of Belder. And if Paul Simmonds did more CPE Bach in a similar vein to the Wolf sonatas he's done, that would be ideal, because I really admire his playing. Yeah, the slow nuanced playing just restrains CPE Bach into this narrow niche of early music geekdom(which is fine in its own right, but there are more possibilities), when he could reach a much wider audience of classical music fans.

I think CPE Bach at his best was nearly as good Mozart and Haydn on the keyboard, but with a different stylistic idiom that really can't be compared. They were able to feed on his innovations and generate more refined things, but that doesn't diminish the rough inventive quality of many of these works.
Haver you looked at the chronology? Which came first, Prussian or Kenner? That's to say, where does the sensitive style fit in his development?

And what, precisely, was Haydn aware of? Which CPEB pieces exactly were an influence on Haydn?
 

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I can't confirm it for you, but I vaguely recall reading a second hand quote of Beethoven's(some person who knew him saying what he said), of him saying that he would see old copies of CPE Bach sonatas and wonder why nobody played them anymore, saying they contained much good music.
Beethoven in an 1809 letter: "Of Emanuel Bach's clavier works I have only a few, yet they must be not only a real delight to every true artist, but also serve him for study purposes; and it is for me a great pleasure to play works that I have never seen, or seldom see, for real art lovers."
 

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Beethoven in an 1809 letter: "Of Emanuel Bach's clavier works I have only a few, yet they must be not only a real delight to every true artist, but also serve him for study purposes; and it is for me a great pleasure to play works that I have never seen, or seldom see, for real art lovers."
I think we've had this conversation before, but I can't recall if it was ever concluded. Do we know what Beethoven actually had?
 

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Not that I've ever seen. However the source says, "July 26, 1809, to Gottfried Hartel, of Leipzig in ordering all the scores of Haydn, Mozart and the two Bachs." I have my doubts. Scores were quite expensive and Beethoven, though not a poor man, was unlikely to have that much money.
 

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No piano for CPhE but it's okay for Scarlatti?
No, I don't consider the piano okay for Scarlatti either. I do remember a Scarlatti piano disc from Zacharias on EMI that I enjoyed, but my strong preference for both composers is harpsichord. Your preferences are your own business, and I would never offer my personal preferences as something that should be universal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
No, I don't consider the piano okay for Scarlatti either. I do remember a Scarlatti piano disc from Zacharias on EMI that I enjoyed, but my strong preference for both composers is harpsichord. Your preferences are your own business, and I would never offer my personal preferences as something that should be universal.
Fair enough. You and I are in two different camps in this regard, because i like this John Bull on the piano(wonderfully played):

 

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Not that I've ever seen. However the source says, "July 26, 1809, to Gottfried Hartel, of Leipzig in ordering all the scores of Haydn, Mozart and the two Bachs." I have my doubts. Scores were quite expensive and Beethoven, though not a poor man, was unlikely to have that much money.
I've read the original letter, or one like it. If I remember correctly, Beethoven was trying to get the scores of CPE for free, arguing that they were just gathering dust on the shelves.

By the way, do you really think these are as good as Haydn and Mozart at their best? I like the Kenner and Liebhaber sonatas more as you know, I think we've talked about this before. I also like nuanced expressive clavichord playing, so I guess we just don't agree about much.
The third Prussian, in E major, is in a category of its own. Cyclically unified and dramatic. Here is a performance I'm not crazy about, halting and tending to kill its own momentum, but the only one I could find:


These works were way earlier than the Kenner and Liebhaber sonatas, weren't they? Perhaps the first he published even?
 
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