The German-born, Anglicized composer, instrument builder, and publisher J.B. Cramer was an outstanding representative of the London Piano School. In the late 18th-century and 1st half of the 19th, two schools of piano playing came to prominence. One is the so-called Viennese school and the other the school of Field (so described by Friedrich Wieck). This school might more accurately be called the school of piano playing based in London which was founded by J.C. Bach and Muzio Clementi. These and succeeding pianists admired the English grand pianoforte and used it whenever possible.
Now badly neglected, Cramer wrote keyboard sonatas of outstanding merit, the best of which are resurrected in this collection. Curiously, for the last 31 years of his life, Cramer stopped composing in this genre. Why? One reason is that the sonata as a form had become unfashionable in England during this period, most pianists writing for the more popular market. Another reason Cramer’s whole output declined after 1830 may be that he felt completely out of sympathy with the new pianos, with the new style of composition and with the new pianists. Although he knew many of the new pianistic stars, he found little sympathy for their music and playing styles. He was firmly committed to the pre-1835 Broadwood grand, with its leather hammers, triple stringing and wooden frame. The new school of piano playing alienated him and in turn he became a relic of the past, respected to his face but privately scorned. Out of sync with the prevailing musical climate, there was no demand for his serious works and he simply stopped producing them. These last sonatas then, represent a final flowering of his compositional talent coinciding with the final phase of the early Broadwood grand piano.
The performer’s previous fortepiano recordings of works by Beethoven, Weber, Clementi and Dussek have been favorably reviewed in Gramophone, Fanfare, Musica, and other trade journals.
CD-1128(2) JOHANN BAPTIST CRAMER (1771-1858): Seven Late Sonatas. John Khouri, 1813 Broadwood Grand Piano. Total Time: CD No. 1, 1:8:25 CD No. 2, 1:16:32 (DDD) UPC #0-17685-11282-9
Disc 1 Sound Clips (MP3):
Disc 2 Sound Clips (MP3):