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The Sentimental Style

Donald Macleod explores the sound of CPE Bach's music, written in the 'Empfindsamer Stil'.

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 the sound of CPE Bach's music, written in the 'Empfindsamer Stil'.

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s music sits somewhere between the high baroque of his father, JS Bach, and the stripping back of ornamentation by Haydn and Mozart. It’s often described using the German word for sensitive or sentimental, 'Empfindsam'.

The Empfindsamer style aimed to express ‘true and natural’ feelings, in contrast to the baroque, and drew on a very wide range of cultural influences: poets, painters, philosophers and writers, in particular Laurence Sterne, whose Sentimental Journey was translated into German as Empfindsame Reise. All of that is far from the almost exclusively theological focus of JS Bach. For Carl Philipp Emanuel, music wasn’t about technical brilliance, but all about stirring the emotions of the listener. Bach believed that music should reflect human nature, and hold up a mirror to the emotional world of man. The emotions should be stirred, and this should have a cathartic effect.

Symphony in D Major, Wq 183 No 1
Marek Toporowski, continuo
Solamente Naturali
Didier Talpain, conductor

Fantasia No. 2 in C Major, Wq 59 No 6
Christine Schornsheim, clavichord

Wer ist so würdig als du; Ach, ruft mich einst zu seinen Freuden, H 805 (Nun danket alle Gott)
Jan Kobow, tenor
Himlische Cantorey
Les Amis de Philippe
Ludger Rémy, conductor

Sonata in C Minor, Wq 78
Laurent Albrecht Breuninger, violin
Piet Kuijken, fortepiano

Morgengesang am Schöpfungsfeste, W 239
Barbara Schlick, soprano
Johanna Koslowsky, soprano
Rheinische Kantorei
Das Kleine Konzert
Hermann Max, conductor

Produced by Iain Chambers for BBC Wales

59 minutes

Music Played

  • Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

    Symphony in D Major, Wq 183 No 1

    Performer: Marek Toporowski. Ensemble: Solamente Naturali. Conductor: Didier Talpain.
    • Brilliant Classics 94640/1.
    • Brilliant Classics.
    • 1.
  • Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

    Fantasia No 2 in C Major, Wq 59 No 6

    Performer: Christine Schornsheim.
    • Capriccio C5201.
    • Capriccio.
    • 7.
  • Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

    Nun danket alle Gott, H 805 (extracts)

    Performer: Ludger Rémy. Singer: Jan Kobow. Ensemble: Himlische Cantorey. Ensemble: Les Amis de Philippe.
    • CPO 7775942.
    • CPO.
    • 3.
  • Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

    Sonata in C Minor, Wq 78

    Performer: Laurent Albrecht Breuninger. Performer: Piet Kuijken.
    • Hanssler 93.312.
    • Hanssler.
    • 2.
  • Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

    Morgengesang am Schopfungsfeste, Wq 239

    Singer: Barbara Schlick. Singer: Johanna Koslowsky. Choir: Rheinische Kantorei. Ensemble: Das Kleine Konzert. Conductor: Hermann Max.
    • Phoenix 453.
    • Phoenix.
    • 1.

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