To mark the 300th anniversary of the birth of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, the Hamburg group Ensemble Resonanz, directed by Riccardo Minasi, perform the German composer’s innovative Six Hamburg Symphonies for strings and basso continuo, Wq. 182.
After a period at the somewhat stiff, formal Berlin court of Frederic II (where he suffered from a lack of genuine appreciation as well as restrictions in what he could compose), Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788) breathed a totally different kind of air in Hamburg after 1768 - one of independence and with the potential for development. In this he was supported by the musical patron Baron van Swieten who, during his visits to Hamburg, particularly encouraged Carl Philipp Emmanuel to practice his art “without considering the difficulties”.
And so listeners can hear the freedom and joy in innovation in C.P.E. Bach’s 6 Hamburg Symphonies: bold in their formal aspects, in harmony and emotion and very demanding for performers. The composer is said to have led performances from the harpsichord, making sure he was “able to place himself in all the emotions he wants to arouse in his listeners”.
Hamburg’s Ensemble Resonanz act completely in keeping with C.P.E. Bach’s way of music-making. They represent a new generation of musicians, bridging the gap between tradition and the present. Instead of working with a fixed conductor, the democratically-organised musicians collaborate with outstanding instrumentalists such as Jean-Guihen Queyras and Tabea Zimmermann as artists-in-residence. In October 2014 the Ensemble opened the “resonanzraum” in a bunker in Hamburg - a new urban space for classical music with a club atmosphere.
Violinist Riccardo Minasi has performed as a soloist with Jordi Savall‘s Le Concert des Nations, Il Accademia Bizantina and Il Giardino Armonico for many years. As a conductor, Minasi works increasingly in opera but also with orchestras such as Il Complesso Barocco, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, and the Ensemble I Pomo d’oro.