Search form

CD Pick of the Week

Classical WETA 90.9 FM showcases notable new (or newly reissued) CDs each week. Hear selections from the CD on-air throughout the week, and check online to learn more about the artist and the music. Our friends at ArkivMusic join in by putting that recording on sale for the entire week and contributing a portion of each sale to WETA.

November 17, 2014

CD cover

The Complete Keyboard Works of C.P.E. Bach

Hänssler Classic 98003

Ana-Marija Markovina is the first pianist to record all the solo keyboard music of this most illustrious son of the great Johann Sebastian Bach.  Markovina says that C.P.E. stands alone, outside of any category, and yet, without his music, Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven could not have written their keyboard works.  Those later composers needed an intermediary between J.S. Bach (particularly his Well-Tempered Clavier) and themselves.  The son moved completely away, stylistically, from the father, and thus keyboard music could continue, whereas without that dramatic turn away from J.S. Bach, nothing more could be written. 

Markovina has spent over a decade studying and playing the works of C.P.E., and further says that, with his pivotal contribution to the expressive empfindsamer Stil (sensitive style), C.P.E. helped establish a greater emotional freedom, as well as a sense of humor in music (particularly appreciated and expanded by Joseph Haydn).

The instrument chosen for these recordings is a Bösendorfer Imperial, a massive instrument that’s over 9 feet long, with an extended lower range and 97 keys, rather than the usual 88.  It may seem an unusual choice for music of the 18th century, but Markovina explains in the extensive and enlightening program notes:  “The Bösendorfer Imperial…has delivered the sound I sought and facilitated the interpretation I intended in a manner that altogether surpassed my expectations.  It has opened up a world in which sound and speech form a unity such as this piano literature requires like no other.”   This seems entirely appropriate then, for music that was inspired by the principles of rhetoric, the impact of drama and emotional turmoil, and by a desire to move completely away from the Baroque Affektenlehre.  

You can hear Ana-Marija Markovina’s conversation with Classical WETA’s Bill Bukowski here.