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A Very Modern Composer

Donald Macleod explores contemporary angles on CPE Bach's life and music as well as his life at court in Berlin.

This week we look at CPE Bach's music and reputation in the light of the sensational rediscovery of much his archive in 1999. Throughout the week, we'll hear recent recordings of this 'new' music. In this episode, Donald Macleod explores contemporary angles within CPE Bach's life and music, as well as his life at court in Berlin.

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was many things in his lifetime: composer, virtuoso harpsichord player and improviser extraordinaire, author, businessman – publishing his own music – biographer – of his father and other members of his family, and teacher. As the growing amateur tradition of music-making among the middle classes required pieces that were playable domestically, Bach was quick to appreciate the potential for him to fill the gap.

Publishing rivalled composition and performance for importance in his professional life. Much like musicians using crowd-funding sites today, Bach introduced a subscription system for his fans, in which each work's printing and distribution were financed by prepublication sales. Haydn, Mozart, Weber and Beethoven all studied Bach's Essay on keyboard playing attentively. It's a practical guide for performers, with chapters on ornamentation, performance and improvisation.

Solfeggio in C Minor, Wq 117 No 2
Ana-Marija Markovina, piano

Free Fantasie in F sharp minor, Wq 67
Andreas Staier, fortepiano

Licht der Welt, von Gott gegeben, H 811 (Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe)
Jan Kobow, tenor
Himlische Cantorey
Les Amis de Philippe
Ludger Rémy, conductor

Rondo II in D Minor, Wq 61 No 4
Christine Schornsheim, clavichord

Flute Sonata in A minor, Wq 132
Emanuel Pahud

Solfeggio in C Minor
Eugen Cicero, piano

Produced by Iain Chambers for BBC Wales.

59 minutes

Music Played

  • Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

    Solfeggio in C minor, Wq 117 No 2

    Performer: Ana-Marija Markovina.
    • Hänssler Classic HL00137301.
    • Hänssler Classic.
    • 8.
  • Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

    Free Fantasie in F sharp minor, Wq 67

    Performer: Andreas Staier.
    • DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 82876 67374 2-1.
    • DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI.
    • 8.
  • Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

    Licht der Welt, von Gott gegeben (Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe, H. 811)

    Performer: Ludger Rémy. Singer: Jan Kobow. Ensemble: Himmlische Cantorey. Ensemble: Les Amis de Philippe.
    • CPO 7775942.
    • CPO.
    • 13.
  • Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

    Rondo in D minor, Wq 61/4

    Performer: Christine Schornsheim.
    • Capriccio C5201.
    • Capriccio.
    • 10.
  • Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

    Sonata in A minor for flute, Wq 132

    Performer: Emmanuel Pahud.
    • EMI Classics 5411 583 584.
    • EMI Classics.
    • 8.
  • Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

    Solfeggio in C minor, Wq 117 No 2

    Performer: Eugen Cicero.
    • MPS Records ‎00289 4762788.
    • MPS Records ‎.
    • 1.

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