Sisters, Face to Face

CD cover 'Sisters, Face to Face' by Acis

The Raritan Players:

Rebecca Cypess, harpsichord
Yi-heng Yang, fortepiano

“This album could be better only if they could find a way to scent it with freshly-baked cookies.”
American Record Guide

“Natural and assured throughout…moves with utmost liquidity and poise”
Early Music America

“They play naturally and directly, with palpably genial and unpressured give and take…An enchanting disc.”
Classics Today

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Concerto in F major, Fk. 10
Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (1710-1784)
1. Allegro ma moderato
2. Andante
3. Presto

Sonata in C major, Wq. 87

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788), arranged 4. Allegretto
5. Andantino
6. Allegro

Sonata in G major, BWV 1039
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), arranged
7. Adagio
8. Allegro ma non presto
9. Adagio e piano
10. Presto

Concerto in C major, BWV 1039a
Johann Sebastian Bach

11. [Without tempo indication]
12. Adagio ovvero largo
13. Fuga

Total time: 63:06



Podcast Interview with WCPE; conversation and an airing of the JSB Concerto BWV 1061a.

“Unexpected treasure here”
“It looks at…salon culture…It’s compelling, like to cooperative sisters having an afternoon of fun…It’s delightful to hear the musical ideas intertwined or tossed back and forth, like two smart friends having a great conversation “face to face” across a room. The booklet notes explain everything. Welcome to the salon for this hour of fine entertainment! This album could be better only if they could find a way to scent it with freshly-baked cookies.”
BRADLEY LEHMAN, American Record Guide, September/October 2019

“Cypess and Yang are confident and caring interpreters as well as sympathetic partners. They sound natural and assured throughout the shifting moods of the W. F. concerto; their attention to detail in its Andante makes the undulating between minor and major into a real event. Here and throughout the album, both players’ clean, empathically phrased dual trills add beauty and harmonic weight…moves with utmost liquidity and poise…With each instrument’s bentside nested inside the other, the sound at Drew University’s Concert Hall remains bright but warm and always cohesive.”
ANDREW J. SAMMUT, Early Music America, August 26, 2019

Intimate Duets, Salon Style
“This release aims to recreate a late 18th-century European musical salon, where hostesses played keyboard duos with family and friends. Although the fortepiano was in vogue then, it had not entirely replaced the harpsichord, and both instruments often would be used in tandem. Sometimes you’d find a hybrid “Vis-à-vis”, a single rectangular instrument, where a keyboard at each end respectively activated a harpsichord and a fortepiano mechanism…Cypess and Yang turn in fluent yet relaxed performances, favoring reasonable tempos that don’t veer toward fast or slow extremes. One might question their heavy-gaited Presto in the W.F. Bach concerto, yet the players’ rhythmic thrust propels the music forward to delightful effect. Ditto for BWV 1039’s finale, and the mobile deliberation they bring to BWV 1061a’s Presto fugue. What is more, Cypess and Yang avoid the kind of fussy agogic stresses and phrasing hiccups that too many period keyboard practitioners habitually trot out in the name of “style”. They play naturally and directly, with palpably genial and unpressured give and take. Cypess’ scholarly annotations delve deep into detail, and the sonics convey more than a semblance of salon-like intimacy. An enchanting disc.”
JED DISTLER, Classics Today, Artistic Quality: 9. Sound Quality: 9.