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18th Century Season Composer Profile: Carl Friedrich Abel

As part of the BBC's 18th Century season: Lucie Skeaping explores the life and music of German composer Carl Friedrich Abel, who spent most of his career in London.

As part of the BBC's 18th Century Season, Lucie Skeaping looks at the life and music of the German composer Carl Friedrich Abel, who spent most of his career in London.

Abel arrived in London in 1754 as a virtuoso viola-da-gamba player, and soon became one of the biggest names on the London music scene. Along with his fellow German musician JC Bach, Abel set up England's first subscription concerts, which allowed them to promote not only their own pieces, but also those of other composers - including Joseph Haydn.

He composed many pieces for his own instrument, the viola da gamba, as well as trio sonatas, concertos for the new-fangled square piano and early forays into the classical-style symphony which were a huge influence on the young Mozart.

1 hour

Music Played

  • Carl Friedrich Abel

    Symphony no.6 in E flat major

    Ensemble: Cantilena. Director: Adrian Shepherd.
    • CHANDOS : CHAN 8648, Tracks 16-18.
  • Carl Friedrich Abel

    Trio Sonata in G major, Op.3 no.1

    Ensemble: London Baroque.
    • BIS : BIS-CD-1765, Tracks 25-27.
  • Carl Friedrich Abel

    Vivace (from Mr Abel's Fine Airs)

    Performer: Susanne Heinrich.
    • HYPERION : CDA 67628, Track 2.
  • Carl Friedrich Abel

    Piano Concerto in B flat, Op.11 no.2

    Performer: David Owen Norris. Ensemble: Sonnerie.
    • AVIE : AV 0014, Tracks 4-5.
  • Carl Friedrich Abel

    Prelude from Suite in D major for viola da gamba

    Performer: Paolo Pandolfo.
    • GLOSSA : GCD 920410, Track 1.
  • Carl Friedrich Abel

    Fugue from Suite in D major for viola da gamba

    Performer: Paolo Pandolfo.
    • GLOSSA : GCD 920410, Track 21.
  • Carl Friedrich Abel

    1st movement from Concerto for flute & strings no.5 in G major

    Performer: Georgia Browne. Ensemble: Nordic Affect.
    • BRILLIANT CLASSICS : 94304, Track 1.

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