Carl Philipp Emanuel (“C. P. E.”) Bach (1714-1788), the second surviving son of Johann Sebastian Bach wrote during a period in which was slowly transitioning from the Baroque tradition to a new form that would eventually come to be identified as the Classical period. With its sweeping melodies, heartfelt harmonies and unpredictable changes of tempo, CPE Bach’s music straddles the rigorous discipline of the High Baroque and the nascent Classicism of Mozart – who called CP Bach “the father of us all.”

There are moments in each of the six imaginatively crafted Württemberg Sonatas that although composed between 1742 and 1743 the unfettered inventiveness of their composer momentarily deceives the listener into thinking that the year is 1790 and that these are the creations of a very young, very imaginative, very unrestricted Beethoven.

Five years ago, at the age of 73, Keith Jarrett suffered two strokes in succession. After his second stroke the pianist was left partially paralyzed and no longer able to play. The ECM 2790/91 two-cd album plainly titled with the name of the composer and that of the artist, recorded before the tragedy is both an homage to a great pianist and a look at the intriguing work of an all-too-neglected master composer.

Rafael de Acha © 2023

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