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The first set of six ‘Fortsetzung’ (‘continuation’) Sonatas Wq 51, recorded here by the Hungarian-born Miklós Spányi, were published in 1761 as a sequel to ‘Six Sonatas for Keyboard with Varied Reprises’, with Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach hoping that they would achieve the same success. By comparison with the later 1768/79 Sonatas by the composer’s younger brother Johann Christian, these works are big in scale and serious in mood. With the longest Sonata lasting nearly 20 minutes, Spányi has described them as ‘belonging to the summit of C. P. E. Bach’s large oeuvre’, yet they are highly accessible and imaginative, encompassing a range of emotions. Continuing his mission to promote C. P. E.’s preferred instrument, the clavichord (here, a copy by Joris Potvlieghe in 1999 of Gottfried Joseph Horn’s 1785 instrument), Spányi brings a variety of colour and texture to this ever expressive, cantabile instrument. Infinite nuances and timbres make overall for enjoyable listening, though a propensity to play with a heavy, rather unshaped left hand at times detracts from the melodic line. Tempi are occasionally conservative in some more vivacious movements, but there is much to appreciate here, with the more subtle dynamic shaping beautifully controlled, and it undoubtedly brings some appropriate attention to this anniversary composer. Also included on this disc are C. P. E.’s decorated versions of each second movement (bar Sonata No 1). Comparisons with their somewhat plainer counterparts highlight Bach’s special giftat improvised ornamentation and variation, offering a valuable glimpse into this fertile composer’s creative mind.

Katharine May Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Early Music Today, 2014 - ©Rhinegold Publishing