Krebs: Keyboard Works Vol 2

Johann Ludwig Krebs (1713 – 1780)
Keyboard Works Volume 2
Steven Devine, harpsichord
Resonus Classics RES10300. 77’17

Overture ‘nach dem Franzoischen Gout’, Krebs-WV 820 (1741)
Partita in B-flat major, Krebs-WV 823 (1743)
Sonata in A minor, Krebs-WV 838 (c1763)

Steven Devine follows up his 2021 Krebs: Keyboard Works Volume 1 with the aptly titled Krebs: Keyboard Works Volume 2, again with a crustation-themed cover photo. Please see the review of Volume 1 for more background information, a crustation explanation, and a warning about the title of this 4 volume series. This second volume focuses on three multi-movement pieces, demonstrating Krebs’ diverse style over a 24-year period ranging from Baroque and Galant to Classical genres, a contrast also demonstrated by the differing styles of Bach’s sons, all of whom shared JS Bach as a teacher.

As with Volume 1, Steven Devine plays a double-manual harpsichord by Colin Booth (2000) after a single-manual by Johann Christof Fleischer (Hamburg, 1710). The pitch is a=415Hz and the temperament is Werckmeister III. The Overture “nach dem Franzoischen [sic] Gout” expands the traditional Overture by including a couple of pieces in the Galant style within the usual sequence of dances, which also includes a Paisan in the manner of a country dance.

The Partita in B-flat major has a more traditional sequence of movements. It is interesting to note from Steven Devine’s programme notes that the second movement chromatic Fuga also exists in two versions that use pedals, one transposed to C major, which would fit the compass of Krebs’s own organ in the Altenburg Schlosskirche where he was the court organist.

The Sonata in A minor is the most forward-looking of the three pieces in this volume and includes elements of the sturm-und-drang and emfindsamer styles so typical of CPE Bach and early Haydn.

As ever Steven Devine plays with an invigorating freshness and sensitivity to the musical language. Even if you’ve never heard of Krebs, this attractively presented recording will delight.