CD review Ch. S. Binder: Sei Suonate per il Cembalo #3

Paulina TKACZYK: Christlieb Siegmund Binder - Sei Suonate per il Cembalo op.1 /2014/

Sonata No. 1 in F major; Sonata No. 2 D major; Sonata No. 3 C minor; Sonata No. 4 E major; Sonata No. 5 A minor; Sonata No. 6 B major.

The music of Christlieb Siegmund Binder (1723-1789), a Dresden composer, harpsichordist and organist, is not very popular today, while his orchestral, organ and chamber pieces are worthy of note. However, the most valuable Binder's compositions seem to be his pieces for harpsichord – an instrument he was particularly fond of. It is in this field of music that Christlieb Siegmund Binder became famous for his 33 concerts, 6 divertimenti and 27 three-movement sonatas. Six sonatas written by Binder for Maria Antonina Walpurgis of Bavaria – the great-granddaughter of King John III Sobieski and wife of Friedrich Christian Wettyn, Duke of Saxony and Poland – first published in 1759 constitute 2 hours of music on two records released by DUX Recording Producers.

The instrumentalist who ventured to record the compositions was Paulina Tkaczyk, known in music lovers' circles since the beginning of the century. She is a graduate of the Academy of Music in Krakow, Hochschule fur Musik in Freiburg and Hochschule fur Musik und Theater in Munich. Paulina Tkaczyk's excellent virtuosity combined with the specific character of Binder's 18th century art resulted in a recording that perfectly expresses the baroque nature of this passionate music, as well as its original form and texture. It is worth mentioning that Paulina Tkaczyk plays an instrument which is an exact copy of a harpsichord from 1769. Its author is Keith Hill, a world-renowned expert in the field of 17th and 18th century instruments.

The tone achieved by means of this perfect instrument by an exceptionally skilful harpsichordist reveals a full range of musical hues hidden in a score which the composer dedicated to Maria Antonina. It might seem that music performed solo on a harpsichord is addressed at a rather restricted group of fans in love with the specific sound of harpsichord. However, the two-hour experience of listening to the sonatas will provide plenty of sensations also for a listener less familiar with Binder's 18 century music rich in references to baroque. One can hear many allusions to Bach's style, sentimentality and even the proverbial ‘touch of madness', which can be discerned for example in the first movement of Sonata No. 3 in C minor (Moderato-Presto). The movement, characterised by fluctuating rhythm, demands absolute precision and exceptional swiftness on the part of the performer. It is at the same time an example of Paulina Tkaczyk's dazzling, almost acrobatic virtuosity. The passage-like second movement (Cantabile alla Pastorale) and the finale (Presto), whose character is shaped largely by heavily stressed chords, acts as a counterbalance for the first movement of Sonata No. 3. The six Sonatas for Harpsichord we get to know from the two records are only the ‘tip of the iceberg' in Christlieb Siegmund Binder's oeuvre. The composer created 27 Sonatas alone. Apart from them, it would be worth becoming acquainted with his harpsichord concertos (33) or orchestral pieces (12). There is such plenty of great Music in store for us!

The CDs were released on 12th November 2014.

[Robert Ratajczak,, styczeń 2015]