About this Recording
8.550513 - BACH, C.P.E.: Sonatas for Flute and Harpsichord, Wq. 83-87 (Drahos, Pertis)

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714 - 1788)

Sonata in D Major, Wq. 83
Sonata in E Major, Wq. 84
Sonata in G Major, Wq. 85
Sonata in G Major, Wq. 86
Sonata in C Major, Wq. 87

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was born in 1714 in Weimar, the second son of Johann Sebastian Bach, then newly appointed Konzertmeister to the Grand Duke Wilhelm Ernst. He attended the Latin School in Cäthen, where his father became Court Kapellmeister in 1717 and in 1723 moved with the family to Leipzig, where he became a pupil at the Thomasschule, where his father had become Cantor. In 1731 he matriculated as a law student at the University of Leipzig, embarking on a course of study that had been denied his father. He continued these studies at the University of Frankfurt an der Oder and in 1738, rejecting the chance of accompanying a young gentleman on a tour abroad, he entered the service of the Crown Prince of Prussia at Ruppin as harpsichordist, moving with the court to Berlin in 1740, on the accession to the throne of the Prince, Frederick the Great.

In Berlin and Potsdam Bach, confirmed as Court Harpsichordist, had the unenviable task of accompanying evening concerts at which the King was a frequent performer. His colleagues, generally of a more conservative tendency, included the distinguished flautist and theorist Quantz, the Benda and Graun brothers and others of similar reputation, while men of letters at the court included Lessing. On his father's death in 1750 he applied for his position in Leipzig, but was unsuccessful and it was not until 1768 that he was able to escape from a position that he had found increasingly uncongenial to succeed his godfather Telemann as City Director of Music at the five city churches of Hamburg. Here he spent the last twenty years of his life. In Berlin he had won a wider reputation with his Versuch über die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen (Essay on the True Art of Clavier Playing) and was regarded as the leading keyboard-player of his day. In Hamburg he continued to enjoy his established position as a man of wide general education, able to mix on equal terms with the leading writers of his generation and no mere working musician. He died in 1788, his death mourned by a generation that thought of him as more important that his father, "the old periwig".

As a composer C.P.E. Bach was prolific enough, writing a considerable amount of music for the harpsichord, with comparatively little for the flute, considering that it was the instrument played by Frederick the Great. His music exemplifies the theories expounded in his Essay, with a tendency to use dramatic and rhetorical devices, a fine command of melody and a relatively sparing use of w hat by his time seemed the merely academic. The reference numbers to Bach's works follow the thematic catalogue compiled in 1905 by Wotquenne.

The present sonatas for flute and harpsichord belong to the Berlin period of Bach's career. In three movements they otter music of immediate attraction, pleasing and effective. The Sonata in D major for flute and harpsichord, Wq. 83, was possibly written in 1747, the year of Johann Sebastian Bach's visit to his son at Potsdam. The sonata also exists in a trio sonata version. The Sonata in E major, Wq. 84, was also adapted as a trio sonata for two flutes and harpsichord and was probably written as a Duetto in 1749. The two G major Sonatas, Wq. 85 and Wq. 86, possibly written in 1754 and 1755, were also arranged in trio sonata form. The Sonata in C major, Wq. 87, was composed in 1766, two years before Bach's departure, from Berlin, an occasion marked by the expressed approval of Princess Anna Amalia, the King's sister, who made him her Kapellmeister in absentia when he moved to Hamburg.

Béla Drahos was born in Kaposvár in South-West Hungary in 1955 and entered the Györ Conservatory in 1969, winning first prize in the Concertino Prague 71 International Flute Competition and a year later in the flute competition staged by Hungarian Television. Study at the Ferenc Liszt Academy in Budapest led to graduation with distinction in 1978, after a further award in Prague and in 1979 at the Bratislava Interpodium, and further distinction. including the Hungarian Liszt Prize in 1985, selection as Artist of the Year in Hungary in 1986 and the Bartók-Pasztory Prize in 1988. Béla Drahos is the leader and founding member of the Hungarian Radio Wind Quintet and since 1976 has served as Principal Flautist of the Budapest Symphony Orchestra. His concert career has included performances throughout Europe and as far afield as New Zealand.

Zsuzsa Pertis
The Hungarian keyboard-player Zsuzsa Pertis was a piano pupil of Pál Kadosa at the Ferenc Liszt Academy in Budapest, proceeding thereafter to the Vienna Academy. where she studied the harpsichord under Isolde Ahlgrimm. graduating with distinction in 1969, a year after winning second prize in the Bruges International Harpsichord Competition. Since 1969 she has been professor of harpsichord at the Ferenc Liszt Academy and is a member of the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra. She has performed in the major cities of Europe and with the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra abroad and at home in the concert-hall of the recording-studio.

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