Article

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

Darrell Berg

in Music

ISBN: 9780199757824
Published online June 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199757824-0010
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

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The life and works of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (b. 1714–d. 1788) occupy a peculiar position in music historiography. Bach is arguably the most imaginative German composer of the mid-18th century. Trained by his father, Johann Sebastian Bach, Emanuel contributed works to all significant genres of the midcentury except the opera. Although his career as a composer began as early as the 1730s, it was divided between two main venues: Berlin (1740–1768), where he was harpsichordist at the court of Friedrich II of Prussia (Frederick the Great), an appointment that became official in 1741; and Hamburg (1768–1788), where he was music director for the five municipal churches and cantor of the Johanneum. Bach’s music includes solo keyboard works, chamber music (including concertos for various instruments and orchestral symphonies), Lieder, and choral music. His instrumental compositions span his entire career; the majority of his vocal works were composed after his move to Hamburg, with most of the choral works as a direct response to the demands of his position there. In the 18th century, Emanuel Bach was more widely recognized as a composer than was his father. From the beginning of the 19th century, however, interest in his music largely disappeared. His music was rarely performed, information about his oeuvre and its sources was lost, and very few scholars treated his works as part of a canon of great composers. From the mid-20th century to the present, attention of scholars and the general public to Bach’s music has increased considerably, owing partly to the growth of interest in the performance of early music. Scholarly writings have appeared that assume Bach’s historical importance, examining his life and his musical and didactic works and discovering previously unknown sources of his music. Because Bach had to be rediscovered, some of the most valuable writings—those that fill a current need—are studies that define his repertory and deal with its sources. Although the present bibliography does not purport to be an exhaustive list, it aims to provide an introduction and to guide the reader to further investigation of Bach’s life and works.

Article.  7716 words. 

Subjects: Music ; Applied Music ; Ethnomusicology ; Music Theory and Analysis ; Musicology and Music History ; Music Education and Pedagogy

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