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Johan van Veen
MusicWeb International, April 2013

…Julia Brown delivers a good interpretation…I have no quarrel with this disc: technically Ms Brown’s performances are impressive, and the evocative character of Friedemann’s keyboard works is convincingly conveyed. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Byzantion
MusicWeb International, March 2013

…the recital finds both Bach and Brown at their best. The four three-movement Sonatas…are instantly memorable for their witty elegance, invention and abundant melody. The Sonatas in E flat and B flat are especially so, with their sudden pauses, fits of speed and improvisatory feel, and the lyricism of the slow movements rates alongside the best of any Bach. The virtuosic Suite in G minor is the best work of all…Brown plays with warmth of expression and a great sense of enjoyment instantly communicated through a fine-sounding instrument. Sound quality is very good… © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Benjamin Katz
American Record Guide, January 2013

As an artist [WF Bach] was an uncompromising risk taker, capable of achieving astounding depth in his music. It is this side of Bach that Brown reveals to us in her lively and graceful performances. The pieces she has picked (several sonatas and a suite) create an engaging program with ample variety to keep the listener’s attention. I particularly enjoyed her comedic timing in the refreshingly silly scherzo-like Vivace of the Dmajor Sonata, F 4. © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Mark Sealey
Classical Net, October 2012

Brown reveals a large world in its gentle and almost inquisitive cadences…reflective, speculative and calm. But all to a purpose. Brown’s playing never wanders as it explores the ornaments which seem to surround it. Never does her deft approach to this varied music lack sparkle or momentum.

At times it’s almost as though Bach is reminding us of a melodic journey with which we ought to be familiar…In Brown’s exposition, it’s the rigor…of rhythmic structure that drives the music forward: the opening allemande…of the G minor Suite is a good example. In Brown’s hands such control and vigor have the effect of heightening our anticipation…

W.F. Bach was a superb improvisor and retained elements of his father’s love of chromaticism and the unconventional; more—the unexpected. This is evident both in the composer’s conception and Brown’s execution of these keyboard works. There is a liberty and sense of fun and engagement that make the music come alive. It’s tempting to think, perhaps, that the modern north American harpsichord…is responsible for this flexibility and for projecting Brown’s facility with nuance and subtleties of color, particularly in chordal passages. It’s certainly a mellow and very pleasing instrument and sound.

One aspect of this almost hour and a quarter long recital is the variety as well as liveliness which Brown brings to the music…thanks to the sonorousness, lighter timbres and flexibility of the harpsichord which she plays. Her lightness of touch suggests versatility, and the need to let the music go where it will, and not be led. Again, the phrasing of a movement like the opening allegro…of the C Major sonata derives its structural logic from something that’s both accessible and fresh. Again, though with very different coloring, as do some of Scarlatti’s works. Brown is fully at ease with the relationship that Friedemann builds between his own individual sunny and yet thoughtful style and the intensity of his father’s idiom, which he overtly honors in such works as the Suite in G minor.

If you want an introduction to delightful, thought-provoking keyboard of great eloquence and elegance, then this is a good place to start. © 2012 Classical Net Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2012

Wilhelm Friedemann, the eldest son and pupil of Johann Sebastian Bach, was a difficult and possibly dissolute person, though highly regarded as an organist. In fact it was the world that tossed him around and he seldom enjoyed permanent employment. A prolific composer who wrote in many genres, his lack of a settled existence accounting for so much being lost, and most of his works were never printed in his lifetime. He was particularly active in the field of keyboard music, his scores usually appropriate to performance on organ or harpsichord, his general style hovering between forward looking inspiration and a desire to retain historic values. The present disc played on the harpsichord contains four Sonatas and an extended five-movement Suite in G minor, their construction at times rather unexpected and catches one’s attention, though Wilhelm never commanded the gift for memorable thematic material that his father exhibited in abundance. To sample you would have to go further than the first track, the Allegro of the E flat major Sonata (F5)—with its quirky hesitations—for I find this the most enjoyable part of the disc. You would hit an ‘average’ in the enjoyment you will derive from the Saraband from the Suite in G minor (track 9). Many movements call for dexterity, and, as the Brazilian-born Julia Brown shows, they are far from easy to perform…I love her happy reading of the final Allegro in the B flat major Sonata (F9). The recorded sound is pleasing… © 2012 David’s Review Corner






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