CPE Bach: Magnificat, Wq215; Motet – Helig ist Gott, Wq217; Symphony in D major, Wq 183

Reviewed on Mon 14 Jul, 2014

If there had been such a thing as a 'Greatest Hits' album back in the eighteenth century, then this is what it might have looked like. In 1786, CPE Bach hosted a charity concert in Hamburg featuring three of his favourite works. The lengthy Magnificat was written in 1749, a period when his elderly father was quite literally looking over his shoulder, and perhaps unsurprisingly it shows that influence in some of its more contrapuntal choral sections. The much more compact 'Sanctus' setting, Heilig ist Gott (1776), is an ambitious work for double choir, which CPE himself regarded as his masterpiece. Finally, the Symphony in D major (1780) features bold dynamic contrasts and a novel use of wind instruments as soloists to a vivacious effect. Doubtless CPE would have been proud to know that these cherished works are still finding such eloquent interpreters as Hans-Christoph Rademann and his Berlin musicians.
–Mark Walker