The Strad Issue: March 2015
Description: Contemporary cadenzas shed new light on Carl Philipp Emanuel
Musicians: Konstantin Manaev (cello) Berlin Camerata
Composer: C.P.E. Bach

‘Polystylistic’ is not a word one would expect to apply to a disc of C.P.E. Bach concertos, however revolutionary his writing may have been. The addition of cadenzas by contemporary Uzbek composer Aziza Sadikova in the first two concertos, however, turns them into something quite unexpected. These cadenzas, skilfully using tiny thematic motifs, gradually open up into a surreal sound world that jars uncomfortably with the music they inhabit.

With that caveat, however, this ‘living interpretation’ is an excellent one. The Berlin Camerata, now in its sixth year, plays conductorless with one player per part and with crisp ensemble and intonation, and Russian soloist Konstantin Manaev lends a restrained beauty to the weighty slow movements, virtuoso dexterity to the finales, and grace and charm to the galant phrases of the B flat major concerto. Manaev, whose multiple competition successes followed study with Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt and Ivan Monighetti, gives convincing performances, with sparing use of vibrato on a cello contemporary with C.P.E. Bach’s later years but using modern strings and bow.

This is a recording of well-judged balance and notable clarity, although the rather dry acoustic sometimes produces a somewhat acerbic upper string sound.