CPE Bach: Keyboard Sonatas, Volume 2

Reviewed on Thu 23 May, 2013

The second-born son of Johann Sebastian Bach, Carl Philip Emmanuel (1714-1788) is very much his own man, and Danny Driver's absorbing survey of keyboard works (his second for Hyperion devoted to this fascinating figure) effortlessly holds the listener in its thrall. We are treated to four sonatas – each one cast in three movements, full of sparky, searching (and, yes, occasionally bonkers) invention and incorporating plenty of unexpected harmonic twists – as well as the F sharp minor Fantasie of 1787 (remarkably daring in its improvisatory freedom and skittish mood-swings) and playful Rondo in D major composed two years previously. Driver clearly believes in every note, and his immaculate fingerwork, tasteful range of expression and enviable powers of concentration will give huge pleasure. A classy, hugely engaging anthology, this, captured by the microphones with striking realism.
–Andrew Achenbach