The Trio Sonata in 18th-Century Germany

London Baroque

BIS-CD-1995

The closing disc in London Baroque’s survey of the rise and fall of the trio sonata takes us to 18th-century Germany, and includes works by no less than two Johann Gottliebs: Johann Gottlieb Goldberg – who rose to posthumous fame by being associated with J.S. Bach’s celebrated set of variations – and his namesake Johann Gottlieb Graun, violinist and composer at the court of Frederick the Great. Next to them in the list of contents are also more familiar names, such as Graun’s colleague at the Prussian court, C.P.E. Bach, and the ubiquitous G.Ph. Telemann, here represented with an unusually scored trio for violin, gamba and basso continuo. The programme straddles the divide between late Baroque and Classical music, and several of the included works point clearly at what was to come. One of these is the trio sonata by C.P.E.’s younger brother Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach, of whom it is known that he became a great admirer of Mozart after encountering his music during a visit to London in the 1780’s. Looking back over this eight-disc series, which opened with three Fantasias composed before 1620 by Orlando Gibbons, it becomes clear how far London Baroque has travelled, on a journey that has taken in both staples of the repertoire and more or less unknown jewels, by composers still revered today or awaiting rediscovery.

Reviews

London Baroque is one of the older ensembles in the world of historical performance practice. It is still going strong, and it is remarkable how it has kept its high standard over so many years. That also applies to the Bis trio sonatas series: eight discs, intelligently put together and forming a lively documentation of an important part of music history. The playing is again of the highest quality. It is just a shame that this disc is the last in this project. What's next? MusicWeb International

"Such marvellous performances" Early Music Review