Recording of the Month, Music Web International, May 2013
On the penultimate disc in his series of the complete keyboard concertos by C.P.E. Bach, Miklós Spányi completes the set of six concertos (Sei Concerti, Wq 43/1-6) begun on Volume 17. Bach finished working on the set in 1771, but had already advertised its coming publication. In a bid to reach as many potential subscribers as possible, he marketed the works as ‘easy’, and also included optional parts for wind instruments: two horns in all the fast movements, replaced by flutes in the slow movements. Bach’s aim was to make the works appealing to both players and listeners, and the result is a set of highly attractive pieces, with approachable melodies and dance rhythms but also displaying a new freedom with regard to conventional concerto form. With the expert support of the Hungarian period band Concerto Armonico, Miklós Spányi performs the solo parts of Wq 43/5 and 43/6 on a harpsichord, a copy of an instrument from 1745. Inspired by the English harpsichords that were imported in great number to Northern Germany during Bach’s time, this instrument has been fitted with a so-called ‘swell device’, enabling the performer to achieve dynamic shadings and crescendo-diminuendo effects consistent with the instructions in Bach’s scores. Some seven years after the Sei Concerti, Bach composed the concertos in G major (Wq 44) and D major (Wq 45) – two works which, although composed in the same year, are strikingly different in character, evidence of Bach’s continuing desire to give each new work a distinctive identity. This has led Miklós Spányi to choose to perform the Wq 44 concerto on a fortepiano from 1798, by the English maker Broadwood, returning to the harpsichord for the final work on the disc.