Bach Family Chamber music for two flutes

With musicians just as with instrument-makers, talents that run in families are not unusual in the history of Western music. But it was given to only a few families to remain above average over several generations. The children did not give their father Johann Sebastian Bach unalloyed pleasure. They took flight in various ways, all thoroughly distanced from admiration and respect. After all, the surviving male offspring were all able musicians, three of them famous, perhaps in the late 18th century even more famous than their father. In fact, each of the three brothers accentuated tendencies created in their father’s work that were subsequently to become decisive in the history of music. Just as Johann Christian arranged and partly anticipated the work and style of Mozart, Carl Philipp Emanuel anticipated Beethoven’s expressive manner in his boldest creations, while the lyrical fantasist Friedemann unmistakably struck the note of the mature Chopin. In the second half of the 18th century, the flute was one of the main instruments of the aristocratic gentilhomme as of the educated citizen. Chamber music for this instrument then is in no way designed for the concert. This presents us as listeners with a problem. To begin with it is indeed almost exclusively music for the players themselves, and secondly an experimental laboratory for composers. And, if intended for listeners at all, it is music for connoisseurs and lovers, on no account for an average audience. But then it also has real intellectual fun glorying in the light-and-shade Friedemann, for example in the A minor fragment of his archaically austere composition (which Mozart admired so much), in the dignified, sometimes bold motivic work of Emanuel or in the pleasing elegance of the “polished” Christian’s form as well as the virtuoso piano artistry of Frederick or William’s retrospective intimacy.   Ingomar Rainer



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"Recorded at Nimbus's reliable Wyastone Leys facilities, sound quality on this disc is admirable throughout... and instrumentalists nicely balanced. This is seventy-nine minutes of 24-carat music. It is very ably performed by an experienced team of soloists - and in Schmeiser's case played fittingly on a 24-carat gold instrument!"

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