Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, classical music composer

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Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach


Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was born on March 8, 1714, the second of three sons born to Johann Sebastian Bach and Maria Barbara Bach. At the age of ten, he entered the St. Thomas School in Leipzig where his father had become Cantor in 1723. He later continued his education in jurisprudence at Leipzig and Frankfurt (Oder). In 1738, at twenty-four years of age, he received his law degree but immediately abandoned the hopes of a law career for music.

Emanuel Bach was already a proficient keyboardist and had been composing since 1731. Shortly after completing his studies, he obtained a position in the service of Frederick II of Prussia, then the crown prince. When Frederick ascended to the throne in 1740, Bach became a member of the royal orchestra. By this time, he was one of Europe's leading keyboard players. While in the service of Frederick the Great, he served with such prominent figures as Carl Heinrich Graun and Johann Joachim Quantz.

Despite his many compositions, his greatest contribution to music perhaps is his "Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments." At the time, it was revolutionary in advocating the use of the thumb in playing and later formed the basis of the methods of Muzio Clementi and Johann Baptist Cramer. Furthermore, Emanuel Bach provided an in-depth method of playing from a figured bass. Though modeled from the point of view of performance, it was also influential as instruction in the theory of harmony. Bach's method favored the contrapuntal method over Rameau's theories of root progression and his work was influential on later composers, such as Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.

In 1768, Emanuel Bach became Kapellmeister in Hamburg, succeeding Georg Philipp Telemann. At this point, largely out of duty, he turned more to the composition of church music. Bach died in Hamburg on December 14, 1788.

Composer Title Date Action
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Sonata for Flute Solo in a minor, WQ 132 01/17/2009 Play Add to playlist
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Flute Sonata in G Major 01/21/2009 Play Add to playlist
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Rondo in F Major, Wq. 57 06/15/2010 Play Add to playlist
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Solfeggietto 03/21/2011 Play Add to playlist
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Sonata in A major, W. 55 No. 4 03/10/2014 Play Add to playlist
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Symphony in E minor, Wq. 178 03/01/2015 Play Add to playlist
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Fantasie in F-Sharp minor, Wq. 67 06/09/2015 Play Add to playlist