Wednesday, 18 June 2008

111. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach - Keyboard Sonatas (1742-44)


Title: Prussian Sonatas, Wurttemberg Sonatas
Performer: Bob Von Asperen
Year: 1977-79
Length: 2 hours 15 minutes (3 CDs)


CPE Bach shows us a marked difference from his fathers use of the keyboard, this is harpsichord really on the edges of the classical period, it is almost there, but still recognisably baroque, even if it is for the simple fact that it is being played on an harpsichord.

That being said, it is still not spectacularly fascinating, but it is quite good. His father isn't much of an innovator, but CPE is much more so. But it is still more harpsichord, and it is kind of driving me crazy, there is one more solo harpsichord recording on the list then we are done with it.

So, yeah it's a welcome development of keyboard music and a kind of essential composition for that, but still too dull to be a real highlight of this list, it is more modern but not as good as the Goldberg variations.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was born in Weimar, Germany.

When he was ten years old he entered the St. Thomas School at Leipzig, where his father had become cantor in 1723, and continued his education as a student of jurisprudence at the universities of Leipzig (1731) and of Frankfurt (Oder) (1735). In 1738, at the age of 24, he took his degree, but at once abandoned his prospects of a legal career and determined to devote himself to music.

A few months later (armed with a recommendation by Sylvius Leopold Weiss) he obtained an appointment in the service of Frederick II of Prussia ("Frederick the Great"), the then crown prince, and upon Frederick's accession in 1740 Carl Philipp became a member of the royal orchestra. He was by this time one of the foremost clavier-players in Europe, and his compositions, which date from 1731, include about thirty sonatas and concert pieces for harpsichord and clavichord.

In Berlin he continued to write numerous musical pieces for solo keyboard, including a series of character pieces- the so-called "Berlin Portraits" including La Caroline.

His reputation was established by the two sets of sonatas which he dedicated respectively to Frederick the Great and to the grand duke of W├╝rttemberg; in 1746 he was promoted to the post of chamber musician, and for twenty-two years shared with Carl Heinrich Graun, Johann Joachim Quantz, and Johann Gottlieb Naumann the continued favour of the king.

A bizarre video of someone playing CPE Bach:

No comments: