Avant garde. Eccentric. A maniac. Wild and adventurous. Off the wall. Extraordinary. No marketing hyperbole – this is how the players of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment describe Carl Philip Emmanuel Bach and his music.
One of the many children of JS Bach, CPE Bach always lived in his father’s shadow, and now is an almost unknown figure at least beyond the classical cogniscenti. How can such an unknown be considered a gamechanger? A listen to his music reveals just why – it constantly shifts, wrongfooting the listener when they least expect it with wild changes of direction and colour – it is bright, effervescent, and is a fascinating link between the music of his father (and the Baroque era) and Joseph Haydn (and the Classical era).
★★★★ It is the sense of adventure that comes across vivaciously here in a fusion of stylistic taste, smooth and supple phrasing and an exuberant thrust – The Daily Telegraph
Editor’s Choice: Self-critical perspective is clearly not a problem for these artists … the unfurling description of of a lover’s kisses permit all kinds of glorious opportunities for the singers’ seemingly telepathic understanding for chiaroscuro, impeccable tuning and innate grammatical sense – Gramophone
The OAE under Rebecca Miller play with an accuracy and passion that’s infectious: this is among the most exciting, adrenalin-filled period instrument recordings you’ll hear – The Arts Desk
Symphonies that embrace the strangeness and originality of the writing as well as the beauty of some of the middle movements and the feistiness of the finales. Made live, but they’ve emerged in excellent shape – BBC Radio 3 Record Review
The orchestra’s playing here is bright, effervescent and fascinating – truly positioning C.P.E. Bach as the missing link between his father and the music of Haydn – Classic FM
These energetic, committed performances of five symphonies dating from between 1757 – when Haydn was first writing in the genre – and 1780 show the period band has lost none of its verve and enthusiasm for this strange, dramatic music from the dawn of the “classical” era – The Sunday Times