C.P.E. Bach String Symphonies, Wq182
Like the lute music of Kapsberger and the key-board toccatas of Frescobaldi (even more Rossi) these strangely angular and fragmented string symphonies are best approached with a minimum of particular expectation, taken as they often joltingly come; rarely do they do what you expect, nor do they long continue to follow any consistent path, and their essence is contrast (sometimes quite brutal) of every kind—sharply pointed in these performances. Structurally they are neither galant nor classical, with little in the way of extended thematic material, but, rather, successions of unexpected assaults on the mind and the emotions; it is difficult not to believe that they mirrored the composer's own taste of mind. Though inhabiting a different world, they have many strokes of humour that recall Haydn at his most impish. If you don't know them, don't let it stay that way. The recording (over 65 minutes of playing time) is marvellously clear. Hogwood, with the AAM, has also recorded them with comparable brilliance (L'Oiseau-Lyre) and the added bonus of two other symphonies, but his set has not yet been transferred to Compact Disc.'