According to J.N. Forkel, his biographer, J.S. Bach composed the Trio Sonatas and other important keyboard works for the instruction of his eldest son Wilhelm Friedemann. If true, while J.S. would doubtless have had the best of intentions, the technical difficulties of these pieces are such that, should a contemporary composer do similarly, they might expect a call from social services!
Adults performing the Sonatas for Two Keyboards and Pedal (as they might more properly be called) do so at their own risk. Christopher Wrench is among those who play them with a mastery that would surely impress even ‘Old Bach’ himself. On this close recording of the 1995 Carsten Lund organ of the Garrison Church in Copenhagen, every note is heard with utmost clarity, revealing a perfection of execution that is jaw-dropping. And then, the technical challenges dispatched, the musical beauty of these gems shines through and Christopher Wrench achieves the Holy Grail of trio performance: the three ‘voices’ (right hand, left hand, pedal) sound as if they are played by three different musicians in perfect ensemble, rather than one musician playing all three. Brilliant music, brilliantly performed.