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Music Review: Mørk plays C.P.E. Bach's Cello Concertos Beautifully

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J.S. Bach’s second surviving son, Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach is known for continuing his father’s great works as a transitional composer after the baroque era.  He composed only three cello concertos, all of which are on this superb recording which features Truls Mørk and Les Violons du Roy. 

Cello concertos were not popular during the baroque era or C.P.E. Bach’s lifetime as most cello pieces just had the cello playing the simple bass part with the harpsichord.  Not many players had the skill to play these cello concertos at the time they were written, but now Truls Mørk has marvelously interpreted them.  The virtuosity in the compositions and in Mørk’s playing makes these less known concertos really come alive. 

All three concertos have an incredible energy that combines the tones of both baroque and Viennese eras.  The harpsichord combined with very full flowing chords and fugue-like sections makes for an interesting listen.  The melodies stand out and as a transitional composer, C.P.E. Bach seems to have captured the best of both eras, understanding the techniques that make music sound good to the listener.

The best piece on the album is the third movement from the Concerto in B Flat, a fast moving piece with some flowing melodies interspersed with the energetic bouncing chords of the ensemble. 

Overall, the CD was wonderfully produced and sound and performance quality were perfect.  Truls Mørk and Les Violons du Roy did a wonderful job being expressive but not pushing and pulling the tempo in a Romantic-style way.  This CD is a great listen for classical music enthusiasts who would like baroque music to have more emotion and much more cello. 

Interesting Fact: C.P.E. Bach is also known for publishing an essay that expanding the piano techniques his father has established.  He suggested and strongly encouraged the use of thumbs to make fingering easier, which was not the style previously.  Imagine all of J.S. Bach’s preludes and fugues being played with only eight fingers!