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Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

March 8, 1714 - December 14, 1788
born in Weimar, Germany, composed during the Classical period
The second surviving son of J.S. Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel was the most innovative and idiosyncratic member of an extremely talented musical family. His music, unlike that of his father or that of the master he influenced, Haydn, did not define an era so much as reveal a deeply personal response to the musical conventions of his time.

C.P.E. Bach could play his father's technically demanding keyboard pieces at sight by the time he was seven. Also an exceptional student in areas other than music, he enrolled at the University of Leipzig in 1731 to study law, then transferred to the University of Frankfurt an der Oder. He graduated in 1734, but remained in that backwater town giving keyboard lessons, involving himself in public concerts, and learning the composer's craft.

By 1740 Bach was in Berlin as harpsichordist to Frederick the Great of Prussia. Here he was first exposed to Italian opera seria, and its dramatic style infiltrated his instrumental music. Little of this was heard at court, where Bach accompanied the flutist-king in one reactionary concerto after another by Quantz. He made several attempts to find a new position, but the stress of the king's disfavor was partially relieved in 1756, when Frederick became distracted by the Seven Years' War and was frequently away from the court. Bach found a select audience for his remarkable and experimental series of keyboard works such as the so-called "Prussian" and "Württemberg" sonatas (composed in the early 1740s) and the Sonatas with Varied Repeats (1760).

Bach finally got himself released from Frederick's service in 1768 in order to succeed Telemann as cantor at the Johanneum in Hamburg, also serving as music director for the city's five major churches; he held this post until his death.

Stylistically distant from his father's rigorous polyphony, C.P.E. Bach was something of a proto-Romantic; he was the master of Empfindsamkeit, or "intimate expressiveness." The dark, dramatic, improvisation-like passages that appear in some of Mozart's and Haydn's works are due in part to his influence; his music in time became known all over Europe. His impulsive works for solo keyboard, which lurch into unexpected keys, change tempo and dynamics abruptly, and fly along with wide-ranging themes, are especially compelling. One account of Bach's after-dinner improvisations described the sweaty, glazed-eyed musician as "possessed," an adjective that would be applied to equally intense and idiosyncratic musicians in the Romantic age. Many of his symphonies are as audacious as his keyboard pieces.

In the area of chamber music, Bach pulled the keyboard out of its subsidiary Baroque role and made it a full partner with, or even leader of, the other instruments. Yet here he fashioned the music to the public's conservative expectations, as he did with his church music. He composed prolifically in many genres, and much of his work awaits public rediscovery.

Bach also produced an important account of performance practice in the second half of the eighteenth century, translated into English as Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments. ~ James Reel, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: C. P. E. Bach: Piano Works, 1765-1786

Title: Variationes Mit Veränderten Reprisen (20), For Keyboard, H. 259, Wq. 118/10
Title: Sonata For Keyboard In G Major, H. 299, Wq. 65/50
Title: Fantasia, For Keyboard In A Major (Kenner IV/7), H. 278, Wq. 58/7
Title: Sonata For Keyboard In A Major (Kenner I/4), H.186, Wq. 55/4
Title: Fantasia, For Keyboard In B Flat Major (Kenner VI/3), H. 289, Wq. 61/3
Title: Sonata For Keyboard In B Flat Major (Kenner V/3), H.282, Wq. 59/3
Title: Rondo, For Keyboard No. 3 In B Flat Major (Kenner IV/5), H. 267, Wq. 58/5
Title: Rondo, For Keyboard No. 1 In E Flat Major (Kenner VI/1), H. 288, Wq. 61/1
Title: Abschied Von Meinem Silbermannischen Claviere, Rondo For Keyboard In E Minor, H. 272, Wq. 66
x

Track List: C. P. E. Bach: The Complete Keyboard Concertos, Vol.11

x

Track List: C.P.E. BACH COMPLETE FLUTE CONCERTOS

Disc 1
Title: Concerto For Flute, Strings & Continuo In A Minor, H. 431, Wq. 166
Title: Concerto For Flute, Strings & Continuo In B Flat Major, H. 435, Wq. 167
Title: Sonata For Flute In A Minor, H. 562, Wq. 132
Disc 2
Title: Concerto For Flute, Strings & Continuo In A Major, H. 438, Wq. 168
Title: Concerto For Flute, Strings & Continuo In G Major, H. 445, Wq. 169
Title: Concerto For Flute, Strings & Continuo In D Minor, H. 426, Wq. 22
x

Track List: C.P.E. Bach - 8 Symphonies & 3 Quartets / AAM, Hogwood

Disc 1
Title: Sei Sinfonie, Symphonies (6) For Strings & Continuo ("Hamburg"), H. 657-662, Wq. 182
Disc 2
Title: Symphony For 2 Flutes, 2 Horns, Strings & Continuo, H. 649, Wq. 174
Title: Symphony For 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 3 Trumpets, 2 Horns, Timpani, Strings & Continuo In D Major, H. 651, Wq. 176
Title: Quartet For Flute, Viola, Cello & Keyboard In A Minor, H. 537, Wq. 93
Title: Quartet For Flute, Viola, Cello & Keyboard In D Major, H. 538, Wq. 94
Title: Fantasia, For Keyboard In C Major (Kenner V/6), H. 284, Wq. 59/6
Title: Quartet For Flute, Viola, Cello & Keyboard In G Major, H. 539, Wq. 95
x

Track List: C.P.E. Bach: 6 Symphonies

Title: Symphony For Orchestra In D Major (Orchester-sinfonien No. 1), H. 663, Wq. 183/1
Title: Symphony For Orchestra In E Flat Major (Orchester-sinfonien No. 2), H. 664, Wq. 183/2
Title: Symphony For Orchestra In F Major (Orchester-sinfonien No. 3), H. 665, Wq. 183/3
Title: Symphony For Orchestra In G Major (Orchester-sinfonien No. 4), H. 666, Wq. 183/4
Title: Symphony For Strings & Continuo In E Minor, H. 652, Wq. 177
Title: Sei Sinfonie, Symphonies (6) For Strings & Continuo ("Hamburg"), H. 657-662, Wq. 182
x

Track List: C.P.E. Bach: Keyboard Sonatas

Title: Sonata For Keyboard In G Major, H. 56, Wq. 65/22
Title: Sonata For Keyboard In A Major, H. 174, Wq. 65/37
Title: Sonata For Organ (or Harpsichord) In A Major, H. 133, Wq. 70/1
Title: Sonata For Keyboard In B Flat Major, H. 116, Wq. 62/16
Title: Sonata For Keyboard In E Minor, H. 106, Wq. 65/30
Title: Sonata Fürs Bogen-Clavier, For Bowed Keyboard (or Standard Keyboard) In G Major, H. 280, Wq. 65/48
Title: Rondo, For Keyboard No. 1 In E Flat Major (Kenner VI/1), H. 288, Wq. 61/1
x

Track List: C.P.E. Bach: Sei Concerti per il Cembalo Concertato, Wq. 43

Disc 1
Title: Concerto For Harpsichord, 2 Flutes, 2 Horns, Strings & Continuo In F Major (Sei Concerti No. 1), H. 471, Wq 43/1
Title: Concerto For Harpsichord, 2 Flutes, 2 Horns, Strings & Continuo In D Minor (Sei Concerti No. 2), H. 472, Wq. 43/2
Title: Concerto For Harpsichord, 2 Flutes, 2 Horns, Strings & Continuo In E Flat Major (Sei Concerti No. 3), H. 473, Wq. 43/3
Disc 2
Title: Concerto For Harpsichord, 2 Flutes, 2 Horns, Strings & Continuo In C Minor (Sei Concerti No. 4), H. 474, Wq. 43/4
Title: Concerto For Harpsichord, 2 Flutes, 2 Horns, Strings & Continuo In G Major (Sei Concerti No. 5), H. 475, Wq. 43/5
Title: Concerto For Harpsichord, 2 Flutes, 2 Horns, Strings & Continuo In C Major (Sei Concerti No. 6), H. 476, Wq. 43/6
x

Track List: C.P.E. Bach: Sonatas and Rondos

Title: Sonata For Keyboard In D Minor (Forsetzung No. 4), H. 128, Wq. 51/4
Title: Sonata For Keyboard In F Sharp Minor (Zweyte Forsetzung No. 4), H. 37, Wq. 52/4
Title: Sonata For Keyboard In A Major (Kenner I/4), H.186, Wq. 55/4
Title: Rondo, For Keyboard No. 2 In D Minor (Kenner VI/4), H. 290, Wq. 61/4
Title: Sonata For Keyboard In C Major, H. 248, Wq. 65/47
Title: Rondo, For Keyboard No. 3 In B Flat Major (Kenner IV/5), H. 267, Wq. 58/5
Title: Sonata For Keyboard In E Major, H. 83, Wq. 65/29
Title: Sonata For Keyboard In B Minor (Kenner & Liebhaber No. 3), H. 245, Wq. 55/3
x

Track List: C.P.E. Bach: Sonatas for Flute and Harpsichord, Wq. 83-87

x

Track List: C.P.E. Bach: Symphonies/ Concertos

Title: Symphony For 2 Oboes, 2 Horns, Strings & Continuo In E Flat Major, H. 654, Wq. 179
Title: Concerto For Harpsichord, Strings & Continuo In C Major, H. 423, Wq. 20
Title: Symphony For 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Horns, Strings & Continuo In E Minor, H. 653, Wq. 178
Title: Concerto For Cello, Strings & Continuo ("No. 1") In A Minor, H. 432, Wq. 170
Title: Symphony For Strings & Continuo In G Major, H. 648, Wq. 173
x

Track List: Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: Berlin Symphonies

Title: Symphony For 2 Oboes, 2 Horns, Strings & Continuo In E Flat Major, H. 654, Wq. 179
Title: Symphony For 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Horns, Strings & Continuo In F Major, H. 656, Wq. 181
Title: Symphony For 2 Flutes, 2 Horns, Strings & Continuo, H. 649, Wq. 174
Title: Symphony For 2 Flutes, 2 Bassoons, 2 Horns, Strings & Continuo In F Major, H. 650, Wq. 175
Title: Symphony For 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Horns, Strings & Continuo In E Minor, H. 653, Wq. 178

Comments

BACH dinasty!
I've just recently discovered CPE Bach's music, very innovative and creative. He's a bridge between the classical and baroque eras.even though he was a comtemporary of Haydn. Very enjoyable music.
Pretty good
K Bono!
Love, peace, & SOOOOOUUUULL L ! ! ! ! ! :-)
Listen to CPE's Magnificat, even better than his Dad's! Style-wise, half his father, half Mozart...
Great music! Nothing else.
I just recently discovered this master of the late baroque and early classical eras. He combined these 2 styles of music into a style that was uniquely his own. Love this composer's energy. A great find.
I'm grooving on this crazy cat!
earlycall
fantastic
mc_mac127
Really like C.P.E Bach and I believe he was at the very least near his father's level of greatness.
Definitely a forward looking genius.
For my ears though, his father's music- at it's best- had more of a special sublime quality in my opinion. So much soul and spirit is to be found in J.S. Bach's cantatas. Must hear more of C.P.E Bach though, he also had a great vocal work I've heard :
The Ascension and Resurrection of Jesus.
Genetics does count for something--a n d yet, none of the other Bach children reached this level.
I love it.
Yes, it would be great if more high school freshmen were able to appreciate this timeless ethereal music that speaks to the soul. There's a lot of good music out there, but nothing comes close to classical music.
rfs27
all great
Beautiful
:)!!!!!....z z z . . z z z . . . . s o relaxing...
This piece of music is really delightful!
periwinkewis t e r i a
ffffffffffff f f f f f f f
I'm a freshman in high school and I don't think people my age realize how amazing this genre of music is.
lahoudmichae l 3
Love it
His music helps me write my papers :)
A more contemporary sound , an evolution of his fathers music yet unique in its own right.
It does remind me of Vivaldi
Agreed - it is the rare father who passes on his passion, gives training, and allows freedom so well as did J.S. Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach has taught his well
Enjoyable works, with hints of Mozart and Scarlatti, woven together beautifully in CPE's uniquely intimate style.
GORGEOUS PIECE, AND SOOTHING TO THE SPIRIT.
agreed Lauren... I find that I like C Bach more so than his father.
Isn't this mislabeled. Isn't this Johann Sebastian Bach's Double Concerto??
I think Handel, J.S. Bach and a little Mozart and Haydn when listening to C.P.E. Bach. I could never understand the relative obscurity he suffers.
I like him better than I like his father. Nothing against J.S., but whenever there's a Bach piece I'm just wild about, it always turns out to be C.P.E.
C.P.E. was so different, he deserves to be considered on his own without comparison. It truly is apples and oranges.

However...be t t e r than his father? I want to scoop my eyes out after reading that.
pamahoster
a msater who will become more revered with the passage of time...i look forward to discovering more of his music...
I think some of C. P. E. Bach's rhythms are similar to Vivaldi's... a b r u p t, bright, and soothing at the same time. Love this!
ednbobbie
J.S. Bach has always been a favorite of mine, but I'm not ALWAYS that crazy about his kids. However accasionally I hear something by C.P.E. Bach that I like very much. And this is one of them! Thanks again Pandora, I'm getting glader every day that I hooked up with you! Ed
I agree...
In my humble opinion, better than his father.
He's is great! just like his father.

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