Every time I have approached this music, Jarrett’s playing has me totally immersed and the music flies by leaving me with a sense of wonderment.
ECM New Series 2790/91 485 8485
Keith Jarrett (piano)
Recorded May 1994
Given Jarrett’s fascination with the work of Johann Sebastian Bach it was almost inevitable that the pianist would also be interested in exploring the compositions of Bach’s son.
Composed by Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach between 1742 and 1743, the Württemberg Sonatas were dedicated to Carl Eugen Duke of Württemberg, who had studied with CPE in Berlin at the court of Frederik the Great.
The music was written for the stringed keyboard instruments of the day, namely clavichord or harpsichord, and as he had done with Johan Sebastian Bach’s The Well Tempered Clavier, Jarrett was able to hear the music for piano.
Some seven years after the concert recording of challenging pieces of music in which Bach wrote two books of preludes and fugues in all 24 major and minor keys.
These remarkable pieces performed in front of an audience by the pianist were the beginning oif an intense period for Jarrett where he would immerse himself in classical music, and in particular the compositions of J.S.Bach.
These have been meticulously documented in the recordings Das Wohltemperierte Klavier Buch 1 (February 1987), the Goldberg Variations (January 1989) and The French Suites (September1991). The above were all in addition to his improvised solo concerts and commitments and ongoing development of the Standards Trio.
Delving into the work of CPE Bach, Jarrett again is able to translate the music written for harpsichord to wonderfully sonorous performances at the piano that are quite simply captivating.
If improvisation may have been part of the process in composing the music, when playing these compelling pieces Jarrett leaves al notion of the improvising pianist behind as he plays the music as written but is still able to imbue it with a sense of wonder and his own personal touch.
Of the six sonatas that comprise the entire Württemberg Sonatas Jarrett transports the listener through each piece, all written in different keys, with the music sounding very immediate and of the moment. Every time I have approached this music, Jarrett’s playing has me totally immersed and the music flies by leaving me with a sense of wonderment.
There always seems to be something new to hear, and at the present moment I have been totally captivated by CPE’s Sonata VI in b minor. Each of the three movements leads so logically from one to the next, from the grandeur of the opening ‘Moderato’ to the movement from the ‘Adagio non molto’ to the concluding ‘Allegro’ is quite simply astonishing.