What the world needs more of is intelligently planned, stupendously played, and brilliantly recorded collections like this one. These two discs contain all the piano works of Michael Tippett, works that come from every period of the composer's very long life except his very last. It includes the youthful, tuneful Piano Sonata No. 1 written between 1936 and 1938 and revised in 1941, the massive Fantasia on a Theme of Handel from 1941, the exuberant Piano Concerto from 1955, the experimental Piano Sonata No. 2, the gnomic almost Beethovenian Piano Sonata No. 3 from 1973, and the gnarly post-Beethovenian Piano Sonata No. 4. It features a bravura performance by pianist Steven Osborne that makes the best case for all the music, no matter how outré or recherché its harmonic proclivities or rhythmic audacities. Osborne has the emotional enthusiasm, intellectual clarity, physical strength, and sheer willpower to make listeners believe that Tippett is a major English composer and make them wonder why they ever doubted it. With the superlative accompaniment of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Martyn Brabbins in the Concerto and the Fantasia and the sparkling recording by Andrew Keener for Hyperion, this disc marks a major step forward in the Tippett discography.
Johann Mattheson gained lasting renown as a music writer with his two main works Die musikalische Ehrenpforte and Der vollkommene Kapellmeister, with the latter representing a foundational writing on cultural politics, musical aesthetics, and compositional practice in the first half of the eighteenth century. Mattheson was also himself a composer and experienced his most productive phase in this capacity during his years as cathedral music director at the Hamburg Cathedral (1715-28). He wrote twenty-four oratorios and other works for the cathedral music until increasing deafness forced him to resign from his post. That Mattheson is not at all known as a composer certainly has to do with the fact that a considerable portion of his compositional oeuvre was regarded as lost until 1998, when some works were rediscovered in a war evacuation depot in Erivan (Yerevan), Armenia. These works include Der liebreiche und geduldige David (The Loving and Patient David) of 1723, one of Mattheson’s last oratorios. It reveals him to us as a dramatically well-versed, highly imaginative musician who more than deserves his personal renaissance. cpo vows to take up his cause!
Possibly, like me, the first time you may ever have met the name of Forqueray was when you first discovered the ‘Pièces de Clavecin en concerts’ by Rameau. In those chamber works, enlargements of solo harpsichord pieces, Rameau invariably pays tribute to some of his most interesting contemporaries.