Bach is often credited with having invented the keyboard concerto, despite the fact that all of his works in the mode were arrangements of existing concertos for other instruments. Furthermore, whatever influence they may have had was indirect. It’s unlikely that either Haydn or Mozart had heard any of this music or even knew of its existence. But Haydn may have encountered the keyboard concertos of Carl Philippe Emanuel, and Mozart knew Johann Christian’s works in the genre. Nevertheless the elder Bach’s concertos, whether played on a harpsichord, or on a piano, retain a revered place in the keyboard literature. Many listeners will remember the veteran Baroque specialist, Bob van Asperen, from his collaboration with Gustav Leonhardt in the Teldec Bach cantata series. Here he plays the solo concertos with expected grace and fluidity, accompanied by Melante Amsterdam, which is basically an expanded period-instruments string quartet. The performances have a chamber-like intimacy, which is especially attractive, for example, in the famous Largo of the F-Minor concerto (BWV 1056). The recording, dating back to 1993, sounds brand new.(George Chien)
The title of this release is thoroughly misleading. The album contains nothing like the ''Complete Flute Sonatas'' of C. P. E. Bach but only those for flute with obbligato harpsichord, of which there are but five. Eleven others for flute and continuo are omitted, along with Bach's single work for unaccompanied flute. Instead, the remaining five sonatas in the programme consist of two (BWV1020 and 1031) whose authorship has long been a matter of dispute; a trio for flute, violin and bass (H578) in which the violin part has been taken over by the right hand of the keyboard; another (H543) in which a similar adjustment has been made to Bach's two differently scored originals; and a duet for violin and harpsichord (H504) in which the violin part is taken by the flute. So, you can see that the title of the album is somewhat economical with the truth, though the accompanying essay by Barthold Kuijken clarifies the position.– Nicholas Anderson, Gramophone [5/1994]
J. S. Bach's second son, C.P.E. Bach, described the six Sonatas for Violin and Cembalo as "among the best compositions of my dear departed father", and went on to say how well they sounded and what pleasure they still gave him, although written some fifty years before. Over 300 years later these pieces still sound fresh and delightful.
A very finely-played recording which takes virtually 'all' repeats, one of the best performances of Goldberg Variations. The instrument played by van Asperen is a two-manualed harpsichord by Michael Mietke of Berlin (1719), who crafted a harpsichord for Bach while he lived in Coethen.
Bob van Asperen (born 8 October 1947 in Amsterdam) is a Dutch harpsichordist and early keyboard instrument performer, as well as a conductor. He graduated in 1971 from the Amsterdam Conservatory, where he studied the harpsichord with Gustav Leonhardt and the pipe organ with Albert de Klerk. Since then he has been performing extensively in Europe and the rest of the world, both as a soloist and as an accompanist/conductor.
In addition to his live performances, he has recorded repeatedly for several labels, including Sony, EMI, Teldec, Virgin, and Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, specialising in the keyboard repertoire of the 16th - 18th centuries, such as the harpsichord works of Froberger, J. S. Bach and Handel. One of the most important discography projects he has undertaken is the complete keyboard works of C.P.E. Bach and also the complete sonatas of Catalan composer Antonio Soler (Astrée, 1992). Various other projects are under way, while many of his recordings have been awarded with prestigious prizes, such as the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik and the Diapason d'Or.
Bob van Asperen's recording of Handel's Organ Concertos Op.7 is the newest addition to the Veritas x2 series. Veritas x2 is a series from Virgin Classics devoted to landmark recordings of early Baroque music. Handel's Organ Concertos contain six organ concertos for organ and orchestra. They were written for performance during Handel's oratorios and contain almost entirely original material. Bob van Asperen leads the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in this recording.
The Dutch performer Bob van Asperen is a recognized specialist in the realm of performance on period keyboard instruments. Born and raised in Amsterdam, Asperen completed a conventional university course of study in music before embarking on lessons with harpsichord master Gustav Leonhardt starting in 1967; Asperen made his debut in Haarlem in 1968. Also in 1968 Asperen joined the group Quadro Hotteterre, of which he was a member until 1984. Asperen completed his studies in 1972 after finishing a course in organ at the Amsterdam Conservatory given by Albert de Klerk. Afterward he accepted a teaching post at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, which he held until tapped to replace the departing Gustav Leonhardt at the Sweelinck Conservatory, prompting Asperen's return to Amsterdam. His teaching duties in the Netherlands have not restrained him from touring internationally; Asperen has given master classes elsewhere in Europe and also Canada, the United States, and Australia.
Handel’s successful blend of new composition and arrangements of existing pieces in his Op. 4 organ concertos is winningly conveyed by this excellent recording. Van Asperen’s stylish playing and appropriate registration, aided by sensitive orchestral support, emphasise this music’s startling diversity. No. 1’s improvisatory organ solos; the expressive contrast between violin and cello concertino and organ in No. 3, and the enchanting atmosphere of the more delicately scored No. 6 are notable highlights.– Nicholas Rast
Handel’s successful blend of new composition and arrangements of existing pieces in his Op. 4 organ concertos is winningly conveyed by this excellent recording. Van Asperen’s stylish playing and appropriate registration, aided by sensitive orchestral support, emphasise this music’s startling diversity. No. 1’s improvisatory organ solos; the expressive contrast between violin and cello concertino and organ in No. 3, and the enchanting atmosphere of the more delicately scored No. 6 are notable highlights.– Nicholas Rast, BBC Music Magazine