Friday, March 8, 2013

Happy 299th Birthday, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach!

It's the 299th birthday of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach! Born on March 8, 1714, Carl Philipp Emanuel, a.k.a C.P.E. Bach, was the second surviving son of his more famous father, Johann Sebastian Bach, and an important composer in his own right. 

CPE Bach was a "transition composer" between the Baroque and Classical periods, clearly still under the influence of the Baroque style that his genius father so masterfully represented, but also showing signs of the early Classical period and making free use of harmonic color for its own sake.  

He was a "court composer" and had appointments in the service of the crown prince of Prussia, and even dedicated some of his music to Frederick the Great. By all accounts, he was a brilliant keyboardist, and became known as one of the foremost clavier-players in Europe. 

He composed several symphonies and concertos, but the lion's share of his work was the compositions for clavier - over 200 sonatas and other solos. In 1768 he succeeded Georg Philipp Telemann as Kapellmeister (music director) in Hamburg, and turned his attention to church music. He composed an oratorio and twenty settings of the Passion, and some 70 cantatas, litanies, motets and other liturgical works. 

 Some of his most played pieces are the concertos for harpsichord and flute. Let's listen to first movement of the Concerto for Flute, Strings and Basso Continuo in G Major played by members of the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra with the young, beautiful soloist Andrea Loetscher:  

  

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