Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

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Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel

(fē`lĭp ĕmä`no͞oĕl bäkh), 1714–88, German composer; second son of J. S. Bach, his only teacher. While harpsichordist at the court of Frederick the Great, where his chief duty for 28 years (1738–67) was to accompany the monarch's performances on the flute, he wrote an important work on technique, Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments (1753, tr. 1949). After this artistically unsatisfying service with Frederick, Bach succeeded his godfather, Georg Philipp Telemann, as musical director at Hamburg. His 2 volumes of sonatas (1742–43) and his 20 symphonies established the typical classical forms of such works and powerfully influenced both Haydn and Beethoven. He also composed other keyboard music and sacred choral music. His craftsmanship was outstanding in the period between the baroque and classical periods.


See biography by E. Eugene Helm (1989).

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The Music of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach is packed with analytical and historical detail; the prose is lucid, but the sheer amount of information can be an obstacle to a casual reading.
In this light, one must consider the possibility that Telemann acted as the Hamburg publishing agent for the Versuch, as he did for the Berlin treatises of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (Versuch uber die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen, i' 1753), Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg (Abhandlung von der Fuge, i, 1753) and Johann Friedrich Agricola (Anleitung zur Singkunst, 1757).
We cannot play them like, for instance, early Haydn sonatas; we should rather abide by the directions of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, who claimed that when a musician aims to move the listeners, he must first experience the emotions himself.
Wolfram Ensslin and Tobias Rimek ('Der Choral bei Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach und das Problem der Zuschreibung') discuss a strangely neglected area of Bach scholarship: his use of the chorale.
A true son of the age of reason who missed experiencing only the first and last decades of the eighteenth century, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788) belongs among the very few among his contemporaries who consciously and quite regularly demonstrated clear historical awareness regarding the music of their own time as well as that of earlier periods.
Also available is a facsimile edition of Bach's keyboard music: The Collected Works for Solo Keyboard by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, 1714-1788, ed.
The story of the Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach sources at the Library of Congress consists of several different threads, each spun out of the interests and motivations of musicians and collectors over nearly three hundred years.
The empfindsamer Stil (literally the "sensitive style"), distinguished above all for seriousness, intimacy, profundity and melancholy, was brought to its high point by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (his fantasia without bar lines is a textbook example).
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments (1753)
CPE BACH Sonatas (Metronome): Turbulently transitional, composer Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach stands at the cross-roads between the learned but convoluted 'old world' as represented by the music of his great father, Johann Sebastian, and the more obviously sentimental, lyrical world to be created by composers such as Haydn, Mozart and even the young Beethoven.
1) This view--that the French Classical organ repertory played a critical role in Bach's formative training--was reiterated in 1755 by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, who explained to the historian and early Bach-biographer Johann Nicolaus Forkel that his father, in his youth, |heard and studied' the works not only of Froberger, Kerll, Pachelbel, Frescobaldi, Fischer, Strunck, Buxtehude, Reinken, Bruhns and Bohm, but also of |some old and good Frenchmen'.
Rachel Wade, The Keyboard Concertos of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Studies in Musicology, 48 (Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research Press, 1981), 46.