Of the four sons of J. S. Bach who became composers, Carl Philipp Emanuel (1714-88) was the most prolific, the most original, and the most influential both during and after his lifetime. This first full-length English-language study critically surveys his output, examining not only the famous keyboard sonatas and concertos but also the songs, chamber music, and sacred works, many of which resurfaced in 1999 and have not previously been evaluated. The book also outlines the composer's career from his student days at Leipzig and Frankfurt (Oder) to his nearly three decades as court musician to Prussian King Frederick "the Great" and his last twenty years as cantor at Hamburg. Focusing on the composer's choices within his social and historical context, the book shows how C. P. E. Bach deliberately avoided his father's style while adopting the manner of his Berlin colleagues, derived from Italian opera. A new perspective on the composer emerges from the demonstration that C. P. E. Bach, best known for his virtuoso keyboard works, refashioned himself as a writer of vocal music and popular chamber compositions in response to changing cultural and aesthetic trends. Supplementary texts and musical examples are included on a companion website. David Schulenberg is professor of music at Wagner College and teaches historical performance at the Juilliard School. He is the author of The Music of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (University of Rochester Press, 2010).
Subjects: Music, History
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