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Carl philipp emanuel bach - Essay Example

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Carl philipp emanuel bach

This essay considers general background information of the composer, aspects of the musical theory of composition, and a review of various musical compositions. Emanuel Bach was born in Weimar, Germany. As a son famed Johann Sebastian Bach, the younger Bach gained access to a prestigious musical education. At the age of ten he entered the St. Thomas School at Leipzig. He would pursue jurisprudence at a variety of universities after leaving the St. Thomas School, including the universities of Leipzig and of Frankfurt. Bach received his degree at the age of twenty-four. At this time he decided to abandon his legal career and pursue music full-time. In 1740 he would become a member of the royal orchestra. At this time he was recognized as the foremost clavier-player in Europe. His compositions during this period included sonatas for the harpsichord and clavichord. He would later publish a text ‘An Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments’ that would foreground many techniques for keyboard playing, including the use of thumbs. Much of the techniques developed in this text would influence later famed composers Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. Bach would go to move to Berlin where he would compose perhaps his most seminal works. During this period Bach composed Magnificat (1749), Easter cantata (1756), as well as an assortment of symphonies and concertos. The bulk of his composition was written for the clavichord, which he composed over two hundred sonatas and assorted solos. Much of his work would influence the methods of Muzio Clementi and Johann Baptist Cramer. Bach would go on to become director of music at Hamburg and began to focus his attention on church music. He would later marry and live out the rest of his life in Hamburg. He died in December 1788. Bach’s music had a tremendous influence on later composers, perhaps most prominently being held in high regard by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig Van Beethoven. Bach’s major musical influence is as a result of his famed keyboard sonatas. In these regards, they gained esteem for breaking away from previous Italian and Viennese styles and foregrounding new methods of musical expression. Still, Bach is recognized for being a prominent member of the First Viennese School. Within this mode of production, Bach is recognized for the extreme emotional range and unpredictability he demonstrated within a single work (Whitmore 1988). In terms of musical output Emanuel Bach has a tremendous array of material. He has over a hundred keyboard sonatas. In addition to the keyboard sonatas, he has a wide variety of fugues for organ and keyboard. Finally he has over a hundred keyboard concertos (‘C.P.E. Bach’). In all Bach’s tremendous output totals nearly one thousand unique compositions. The album I listened to was Emanuel Bach’s ‘Hamburg Sinfonias’. This collection contained Bach’s 1-6 Sinfonias. In listening to the collection of Sinfonias I am struck by their upbeat nature. While later artists such as Beethoven and Mozart oftentimes seemed to explore dark themes, Bach’s tendency is to generally stay within an upbeat atmosphere. Within these compositions, however, are tremendous variety of form and structure. It’s clear that within these variety of emotions Bach has gained his greatest levels of esteem. For instance, Bach Sinfonia in B flat major begins with an allegro pace and transitions to a symphonic type presentation of instrumentation. The musical tone of the piece ...Show more


Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was an 18th century German composer who was born March 8th, 1714. He composed during the Classical period and is recognized for being the fifth and second surviving son of the seminal composer Johann Sebastian Bach…
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