This hi-res release is a bit confusing because all of the notes are in German without English translation, and the order of selections on the back of the jewel box differs from that on the actual disc and on the inside of the note booklet. I have felt J.C. Bach was a bit on the boring side, but both his three-movement quintet and the harpsichord sonata are tuneful and enjoyable works given sprightly performances by the German ensemble with the French name.
The three Mozart concertos of 1772 have not been given numbers in the usual list of 27 concertos, and like the first four numbered ones are all arrangements of other composers’ music. In this case the other composer is J.C. Bach – thus the pairing up of the two works by that composer with the three Mozart cembalo concertos. Mozart was honing his composing skills by arranging three J.C. Bach piano sonatas from that composer’s Op. 5 – Nos. 2, 3 & 4. Even the three different key signatures were kept the sam. The solo cembalo sonata by J.C. Bach included here is a later one from his Op. 17, but provides an interesting comparison with the manner in which Mozart transformed the older composer’s music. In general, he seems to make it more interesting and less predictable.
La Parnasse Musical is only a quintet and thus the harpsichord sounds to the fore in the ensemble. Before looking closely at the jewel box I had assumed on first hearing that it was a fortepiano, so this instrument’s timbre is obviously rich and not at all of the thin and twangy sort of harpsichord sound. Although the usual practice is to ignore these very early concertos prior to Mozart’s first masterpiece – his “Jeunehomme” No. 9 concerto – a fine performance in excellent hi-res surround such as this one makes a point for the young prodigy’s fledgling efforts.
– John Sunier