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Definition: Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel from Philip's Encyclopedia

German composer, second surviving son of J.S. Bach. The most prolific and famous of Bach's sons, he wrote more than 150 keyboard sonatas, 20 symphonies, c.50 harpsichord concertos, many chamber works and sacred music, and c.300 songs. He was a fine keyboard player and became a leading theorist with his Essay on the True Art of Keyboard Playing (1753-62).

Summary Article: Bach, Carl Philip Emanuel
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

German composer. He was the third son of Johann Sebastian Bach. He introduced a new ‘homophonic’ style, light and easy to follow, which influenced Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven.

In the service of Frederick the Great 1740–67, he left to become master of church music at Hamburg in 1768. He wrote over 200 pieces for keyboard instruments, and published a guide to playing the piano. Through his music and concert performances he helped to establish a leading solo role for the piano in Western music.

He was educated at St Thomas's School, Leipzig, and at the universities of Leipzig (1731–34) and Frankfurt an der Oder (1734–38), where he studied law. He claimed to have received his musical training entirely from his father. He was connected with the household of the Crown Prince of Prussia from 1738, and in 1740, on the latter's accession as King Frederick II, he was appointed harpsichordist to the court at Berlin and Potsdam. In 1744 he married Johanna Maria Dannemann, and in 1747 his father visited him at court. His most important works at this time were keyboard pieces, which contributed much to the development of a more homophonic style and modern formal procedures. His treatise on keyboard playing (Versuch über die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen 1753 and 1762) is a valuable guide to contemporary practice. Bach found Berlin restricting, partly because his duties involved only harpsichord playing, and partly because of the king's conservatism, and in 1768 he moved to Hamburg as municipal director of music at the five principal churches. Charles Burney visited him there in 1772, and commented on his remarkable talent for improvising. In Hamburg Bach had wider scope, directing concerts with great success, and there he wrote most of his music for large forces, such as oratorios.

WorksOratoriosDie Israeliten in der Wüste (1769), Die Auferstehung und Himmelfahrt Jesu (1780).

Church music Magnificat (1749), Heilig/Sanctus for double choir, Passions, and other church music.

Orchestral 19 symphonies; 50 keyboard concertos.

Other about 200 keyboard pieces (including sonatas, fantasias, and rondos), odes, and songs.


Bach, Carl Philip Emanuel


Bach, Johann Sebastian


Bach, C P E Eighteen Exercises, Fantasia

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