Composer of the Week: CPE Bach (1714-1788)

The life and music of JS Bach’s second son

TV & Radio Information
BBC Radio 3
Monday, March 3, 2014 - 12:00


It is difficult for any Bach to be regarded entirely outside the shadow of the unrivalled Johann Sebastian, but if any of the sons can be, it’s Carl Philipp Emmanuel (1714-1788).

One of the most inventive and revolutionary of the Bachs, arguably more so than JS, Mozart said of CPE Bach, ‘he is the father, we are the children. Those of us who know anything at all learned it from him.’

In the first episode of a week of programmes exploring the composer’s life and legacy, Malcolm MacLeod looks at CPE Bach’s early tenure at the court of Frederick the great of Prussia, for whom he composed an extensive canon of flute works.

Further episodes cover the relationship CPE Bach had with his father, the impact of The Seven Years War on his output and the composer’s later years in Hamburg.

Read George Pratt’s feature about CPE Bach in the April issue of BBC Music Magazine, out March 19.

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