Music Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
by
Darrell Berg
  • LAST REVIEWED: 05 May 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 June 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199757824-0010

Introduction

The life and works of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (b. 1714–d. 1788) occupy a peculiar position in music historiography. Bach is arguably the most imaginative German composer of the mid-18th century. Trained by his father, Johann Sebastian Bach, Emanuel contributed works to all significant genres of the midcentury except the opera. Although his career as a composer began as early as the 1730s, it was divided between two main venues: Berlin (1740–1768), where he was harpsichordist at the court of Friedrich II of Prussia (Frederick the Great), an appointment that became official in 1741; and Hamburg (1768–1788), where he was music director for the five municipal churches and cantor of the Johanneum. Bach’s music includes solo keyboard works, chamber music (including concertos for various instruments and orchestral symphonies), Lieder, and choral music. His instrumental compositions span his entire career; the majority of his vocal works were composed after his move to Hamburg, with most of the choral works as a direct response to the demands of his position there. In the 18th century, Emanuel Bach was more widely recognized as a composer than was his father. From the beginning of the 19th century, however, interest in his music largely disappeared. His music was rarely performed, information about his oeuvre and its sources was lost, and very few scholars treated his works as part of a canon of great composers. From the mid-20th century to the present, attention of scholars and the general public to Bach’s music has increased considerably, owing partly to the growth of interest in the performance of early music. Scholarly writings have appeared that assume Bach’s historical importance, examining his life and his musical and didactic works and discovering previously unknown sources of his music. Because Bach had to be rediscovered, some of the most valuable writings—those that fill a current need—are studies that define his repertory and deal with its sources. Although the present bibliography does not purport to be an exhaustive list, it aims to provide an introduction and to guide the reader to further investigation of Bach’s life and works.

General Overviews

The citations in this category serve as general overviews of the life and works of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach or locate his music within the context of discussions of aesthetic principles and stylistic developments of the 18th century. Taruskin’s description of the aesthetic ideals of the period and the relation of Bach’s music and performance to these ideals (Taruskin 2010 are more thorough than most such descriptions. Wagner and Leisinger 1999 and Leisinger’s article in the Grove Dictionary overviews are encyclopedia articles, each contain a brief biography, a discussion of Bach’s music, a complete list of his works, and a bibliography. Hoffmann-Erbrecht 1957 and Eggebrecht 1955 are concerned with affective devices in Bach’s music, particularly his keyboard music, and argue that they are representative of the “Sturm und Drang” period. The authors of three citations, Finscher 1973, Bücken 1923–1924, and Jalowetz 1910–1911, tend to treat Bach’s oeuvre as part of a transitional style between those commonly designated “Baroque” and “Classical”; this diminishes his importance somewhat. Nevertheless, the traditional views of his style that they represent contribute to the historiography of his music.

  • Bücken, Ernst. “Der galante Stil.” Zeitschrift für Musikwissenschaft 6 (1923–1924): 418–430.

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    Essay describes the galant style as homophonic, (dominated by a single melody, rather than as contrapuntal) and names C. P. E. Bach as the most important exponent.

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  • Eggebrecht, Hans Heinrich. “Das Ausdrucksprinzip im musikalischen “Sturm und Drang’.” Deutsche Vierteljahrschrift für Litteraturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte 29 (1955): 323–349.

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    Proposes expression of feelings as the main purpose of composers of the mid-18th century. Mentions contrasts in dynamics and other parameters, as well as harmonic nonsequiturs, as examples of “Sturm und Drang” style in the music of Emanuel Bach, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, and J. G. Müthel.

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  • Finscher, Ludwig. “Das Originalgenie und die Tradition: Zur Rolle der Tradition in der Entstehungsgeschichte des Wiener klassischen Stils.” In Studien zur Tradition in der Musik: Kurt von Fischer zum 60. Geburtstag. Edited by Hans Heinrich Eggebrecht and Max Lütolf, 165–175. Munich: Katzbichler, 1973.

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    A brief but astute essay in which Finscher finds elements of the Classical style in the works of C. P. E. Bach, Johann Stamitz, Giovanni Battista Sammartini, Franz Xavier Richter, and Haydn, and maintains that in the eyes of his contemporaries, Bach was the prototype of the “original genius.”

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  • Hoffmann-Erbrecht, Lothar. “Sturm und Drang in der deutschen Klaviermusik von 1753–1763.” Die Musikforschung 10 (1957): 477–479.

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    Using the keyboard music of Bach, Johann Gottfried Müthel, and Johann Gottfried Eckard as examples of the style he designates as “Sturm und Drang,” the author cites multiple dynamic gradations, sharp contrasts in rhythm and harmony as characteristics of this style.

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  • Jalowetz, Heinrich. “Beethovens Jugendwerke in ihren melodischen Beziehungen zu Mozart, Haydn, und Ph. E. Bach.” Sammelbände der Internationalen Musik-Gesellschaft 12 (1910–1911): 414–474.

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    Believes Bach’s instrumental style, known in its time as galant, to be a dramatic style; maintains that the elements of Bach’s music, particularly his melody, lead directly to Beethoven’s instrumental style.

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  • Leisinger, Ulrich. “Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach.” Grove Music Online.

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    This overview reflects the most recent scholarship. Like other articles in the Grove Dictionary, it contains a works list and bibliography. Originally published in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2d ed., vol. 2 (London: Macmillan, 2001), pp. 387–408.

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  • Taruskin, Richard. The Oxford History of Western Music. Vol. 2, Music in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

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    A perceptive description of the aesthetic and musical backdrop against which Bach’s career unfolded, pp. 409–418.

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  • Wagner, Günter, and Ulrich Leisinger. “Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach.” In Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, Personenteil. Vol. 1. Edited by Blume, Friedrich and Finscher, Ludwig, cols. 1312–1358. Kassel, Germany: Bärenreiter, 1999.

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    A thorough account of the life and works of Bach reflecting scholarship to 1999, with accompanying works list (compiled by Leisinger) and bibliography.

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Catalogues

The latest and, despite many inaccuracies, most comprehensive and useful listing of Bach’s works to date is Helm 1989. It seeks to be exhaustive and inclusive, attempting to list all known 18th-century sources of works attributed to Bach and designating four categories of authenticity: authentic, possibly authentic, doubtful, and spurious. A catalogue to supersede this one is planned to appear in the Bach-Repertorium series published by Carus-Verlag in Stuttgart. The thematic catalogue in Wotquenne 1905, based on the thematic catalogue of Bach’s admirer Johann Jakob Heinrich Westphal (1756–1825), deals almost exclusively with works in two Brussels libraries (where Westphal’s collection is housed) and makes no attempt to list sources in other libraries. The Wotquenne catalogue is nevertheless an indispensable complement to Helm’s catalogue because Wotquenne’s numbering prevailed in discussions of Emanuel Bach’s works until 1989, and because Wotquenne’s numbering system, based on the manner in which Bach’s music was presented to the public in the 18th century, is reflected in the organization of the most recent Gesamtausgabe: Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: The Complete Works. The two 18th-century catalogues, Nachlaß-Verzeichnis (Bach 1790) and “Autographischer Catalogus von den Claviersonaten . . .” (Bach 1772), form an important basis for the study of his works. Wolff 1999 and Miesner 1938 discuss Bach’s catalogues—their discovery and their history—and provide a useful context for the examination of catalogues of his works.

  • Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel. “Autographischer Catalogus von den Claviersonaten des C. Ph. E. Bach bis zum Jahre 1772 komponirt.” Manuscript D-B, SA 4261 in Staatsbibiiothek zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz. In Über Leben, Kunst und Kunstwerk: Aspekte musickalischer Biographie. Johann Sebastian Bach im Zentrum. Edited by Christoph Wolff, 223–235. Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 1999.

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    A facsimile reprint of Bach’s partly autograph catalogue listing his works for solo keyboard (in all genres) composed up to early 1772; displays Bach’s original “house numbering” system.

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  • Bach, Johanna Maria, ed. Verzeichnis des musikalischen Nachlasses des verstorbenen Capellmeisters Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Edited by Rachel W. Wade. New York and London: Garland, 1981.

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    A facsimile reprint of the catalogue of Bach’s musical estate compiled from his records and published by his widow with G. F. Schniebes in Hamburg in 1790. This is an indispensable basis of all subsequent listings.

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  • Helm, E. Eugene. Thematic Catalogue of the Works of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1989.

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    Lists 18th-century sources in libraries around the world, and also sources considered lost until the discovery of the collection of the Berlin Sing-Akademie in Kiev in 1999.

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  • Miesner, Heinrich. “Philipp Emanuel Bachs musikalischer Nachlass.” Bach-Jahrbuch 35 (1938): 101–136.

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    The first modern discussion and listing of the contents of Bach’s Nachlaß-Verzeichnis. Continued in Bach-Jahrbuch 36 (1939): 81–112; (1940–1948): 161–181.

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  • Wolff, Christoph. “Carl Philipp Emanuel Bachs Verzeichnis seiner Clavierwerke von 1733 bis 1772.” In Über Leben, Kunst und Kunstwerke: Aspekte musickalischer Biographie. Johann Sebastian Bach im Zentrum. Edited by Christoph Wolff, 217–235. Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 1999.

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    A description of Bach’s catalogue of his solo keyboard works composed up to 1772, together with an account of its discovery in the collection of the Berlin Sing-Akademie in Kiev, Ukraine in 1999. Contains the only readily available facsimile of the catalogue.

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  • Wotquenne, Alfred, ed. Thematisches Verzeichnis der Werke von Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach 1714–1788. Wiesbaden, Germany: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1988.

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    Reprint, with annotations in German and French, of Wotquenne’s Catalogue thématique des œuvres de Charles Philippe Emmanuel Bach (Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1905). Based on the catalogue of the collector Johann Jakob Heinrich Westphal (1756–1825), Wotquenne’s catalogue lists all of Bach’s works housed in Brussels’s libraries and a few that Westphal knew of, but did not possess.

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Bibliographies

Powers 2002, the most recent bibliography published in hard copy, has been a useful reference work for works published before and during 2002. It reflects the trend toward specialization of research projects dealing with C. P. E. Bach. The bibliography in Clark 1988 was published at the end of a period when interest in Bach had only begun to grow. It lists many writings that serve mainly as a context for the study of Bach’s works, as well as those that focus more intensely on aspects of Bach’s life and style.

Works

The zenith of Bach’s fame as a composer dates from the middle to the end of the 18th century. Although his works have been available in modern editions since the 19th century and survive in many 18th-century sources, only the most scholarly modern editions and only facsimiles that contain works not readily available in other reliable sources are listed here.

Music

In general, Bach’s music has been available in reliable modern editions only since the second quarter of the 20th century. Although there have been many excellent modern editions since that time, only the two GesamtausgabenCarl Philipp Emanuel Bach: The Complete Works, and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Edition—and the Nagel editions of two sets of prints of Bach’s keyboard sonatas are listed here. Facsimiles are likewise listed here only if they contain compositions that have not been published in one of the modern Gesamtausgaben.

Modern Editions

No serious attempt to publish C. P. E Bach’s complete works was made until the 1980s. The first series, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Edition (Bach 1989–1995), was discontinued after four volumes appeared. In Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: The Complete Works (Bach 2005), forty volumes had appeared by 2010, with around one hundred altogether projected. The year 2014, the 300th anniversary of Bach’s birth, is planned as a date for completion of this series. The Nagel editions of the two collections of Bach’s keyboard sonatas (Bach 1966 and Bach 1967), edited by Steglich and, originally published in the 1740s, are listed here because they are not yet available in other scholarly modern editions.

  • Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: The Complete Works. Cambridge, MA, and Los Altos, CA: Packard Humanities Institute, 2005–.

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    The latest and most comprehensive edition of Bach’s works. This edition, begun in 1999, published its first volumes in 2005. As of 2010, forty volumes and a facsimile of the examples and the Probe-Stücke that accompanied the publication of Bach’s Versuch of 1753, have appeared. The edition is projected to comprise around one hundred volumes.

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  • Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Edition. 4 vols. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1989–1995.

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    Uncompleted edition of Bach’s works; attempts to organize each series in strict order of composition. Contains one volume each of keyboard concertos and sonatinas for keyboard and accompanying ensemble, and two of solo keyboard sonatas. This earlier edition will eventually be superseded by the more recent edition of Bach’s complete works.

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  • Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel. Die Preussischen Sonaten. Edited by Rudolf Steglich. Nagels Musik-Archiv 6, 15. Kassel, Germany: Bärenreiter Verlag, 1966.

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    An accurate edition based on the 18th-century engraving. The six sonatas in these two volumes, Wq 48/1–6, had not yet been published in the Packard Complete Works series as of 2010. Originally published in 1927.

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  • Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel. Die Württembergischen Sonaten. Edited by Rudolf Steglich. Nagels Musik-Archiv 22, 23. Kassel, Germany: Bärenreiter Verlag, 1967.

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    An accurate edition based, like Steglich’s edition of the Prussian Sonatas, on the 18th-century engraving. The six sonatas in these two volumes, Wq 49/1–6, had not yet been published in the Packard Complete Works as of 2010. Originally published in 1928.

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Facsimiles

A few facsimiles containing works by Bach are listed here because some of these have not yet been published in modern editions, or because their 18th-century sources are not easily available. The list of facsimiles included here is by no means exhaustive. The two anthologies, Musikalisches Allerley (Bach 1993) and Musikalisches Vielerley (Bach 1992 and Bach 1993), present many short works for keyboard alone or for small chamber groups, as well as short vocal compositions. The Collected Works for Solo Keyboard (Bach 1985, edited by Berg) undertakes to present this entire repertory.

  • Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel, ed. Musikalisches Vielerley. Facsimile reprint series 9. Peer, Belgium: Alamire, 1993.

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    Anthology containing many of Bach’s works for solo keyboard and other small media; also works by Johann Ernst Bach, Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach, Johann T. Cramer, C. F. C. Fasch, Johann Friedrich Gräfe, Johann Gottlieb Graun, L. C. Hien, Carl Höckh, Johann Philipp Kirnberger, Carl Ludewig Matthew, Johann Philipp Schonfeld, Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Wenckel, and several unnamed composers. Originally published in 1770 (Hamburg: M. C. Bock).

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  • Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel. Collected Works for Solo Keyboard. Edited by Darrell M. Berg. New York: Garland, 1985.

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    Contains facsimiles of most of Bach’s keyboard works, many of which had not yet appeared in the Packard Complete Works (Bach 2005) as of 2010. Also contains diplomatic copy of some works (not available for reproduction) attributed to Bach.

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  • Musikalisches Allerley von verschiedenen Tonkünstlern. Facsimile Reprint Series 2. Peer, Belgium: Alamire, 1992.

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    Anthology originally published between 1761 and 1763 (Berlin: F. W. Birnstiel), editor unknown, containing many of Bach’s solo and chamber works composed before 1763, including several that have not yet been published in modern editions. Also contains works by many of Bach’s German contemporaries, as well as by Jean-François Dandrieu, Fouquet, “Mlle Sch-l-n,” Jean-Philippe Rameau, and some unnamed composers; takes Musikalisches Allerley as a model.

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Theoretical and Didactic

In his lifetime Bach was as well known for his Versuch über die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen (Bach 1753, translated as Essay on the True Manner of Playing Keyboard Instruments in Bach 1949) as for his music. This treatise earned him a reputation as a champion of the keyboard as a solo instrument. It contains much information about keyboard technique of Bach’s time and about mid-18th-century performance practice in general (figured bass, improvisation). It is equal in importance to Johann Joachim Quantz’s Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte traversiere zu spielen as a source of information about aesthetic principles shared by Bach and his contemporaries. The prefaces to three of Bach’s other publications, including the “Vorwort” to Bach’s Litanies (Bach 1785, Bach 1992, and Bach 2007) are also listed here because they are didactic (one is already published, and the others are soon to be published, in the Packard Complete Works[(Bach 2005)].

  • Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel. “Vorwort.” In “Zwey Litaneyen für 8 Singstimmen in 2 Chören” (Wq 204): from Vollständige Sammlung der Melodien zu den Gesängen des neuen allgemeinen Schleswig-Holsteinischen Gesangbuchs. By Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Leipzig, 1785.

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    Available only in a few research libraries; scheduled to appear in the Packard Complete Works series as Preface to series V/vol. 6, pts. 18 and 19. The choral litanies themselves are didactic, demonstrating various harmonizations of a musical motive; in his Vorwort to these litanies Bach provides information about performance practice; he prescribes a slow tempo and a dignified style at variance with the mercurial style of many of his instrumental works.

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  • Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel. “Introduction (Vorrede).” In Sechs Sonaten fürs Clavier mit veränderten Reprisen (Wq 50). By Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Courlay, France: Éditions Fuzeau, 1992.

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    Facsimile (in French, German, and English) of edition of 1760 (Berlin: George Ludewig Winter). Contains Bach’s ideas about the permanence of good improvisations and, by implication, information about the needs of his growing clientele of amateur keyboard players, often unable to improvise their own variations and embellishments.

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  • Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel. “‘Vorrede’ to Herrn Professor Gellerts Geistliche Oden und Lieder mit Melodien (Wq 194).” In Miscellaneous Sonatas from Prints I. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: The Complete Works, 5.1. Edited by Darrell M. Berg, 2. Cambridge, MA, and Los Altos, CA: Packard Humanities Institute, 2007.

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    Based on 5th edition of 1785 (Leipzig: J. G. I. Breitkopf). Describes Bach’s response to Gellert’s devotional poetry and the style and tempo in which spiritual songs should be performed. Mentions Bach’s dual purpose for this publication: providing Lieder for a single voice with keyboard, which can also serve as a collection of pieces for keyboard alone. English translation of “Vorrede” on p. xviii.

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  • Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel. Versuch über die Wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen. 2 vols. Berlin: Christian Friedrich Henning/George Ludewig Winter, 1753–1762.

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    This treatise is much more than a tutor for keyboard players. It contains information about performance practices of the mid-18th century and reflects many aesthetic ideas of the time. English translation appears in Bach 1949.

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  • Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel. Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments. Edited and translated by William J. Mitchell. New York: W. W. Norton, 1949.

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    The only English translation of Bach’s Versuch that is widely known at present. It conflates the original and the revised editions and incorporates Bach’s alterations, additions, and footnotes, as well as the musical examples, into the main text. A new edition and a new translation are presently being prepared for the Packard Complete Works series.

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Biographies

The two most thorough monographs on Bach’s life and works are Ottenberg 1987 and the two-volume Bitter 1977. The collection of excerpts in Wiermann 2000 and the collection of documents pertaining to Bach’s life and works in Ottenberg 1994 contain useful biographical information. Plamenach 1949 and Miesner 1979 add details about Bach’s life not all of which are found in more substantial biographies. The succinct and frequently quoted “Autobiography” (Bach 1969) in Burney’s Present State of Music is one of the earliest musical autobiographies, consisting of information about Bach’s life that he wished to transmit for posterity. Despite its brevity, it is an essential document for the study of Bach’s life and aesthetics. It is available as Bach 1959 “Selbstbiographie” in the German translation of Burney. Burney’s Present State of Music is also translated into French and Dutch.

  • Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel. “Autobiography.” In The Present State of Music in Germany, the Netherlands, and United Provinces. Vol. 2. Edited by Charles Burney, 235–279. New York: Broude, 1969.

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    Facsimile of edition published in 1773 (London: Becket). Biography that Bach provided during Burney’s visit to Hamburg in 1772 (Burney casts it in the third person). Contains list of published works and summary of unpublished works; purports to list all of Bach’s works composed by the date of Burney’s visit to Bach in Hamburg.

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  • Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel. “Selbstbiographie.” In Tagebuch einer musikalischen Reise durch Frankreich, Italien, Flandern, die Niederlande und am Rhein bis Wien, dur Böhmen, Sachsen, Brandenburg, Hamburg und Holland 1772/1773. Edited by Charles Burney; facsimile edition edited by Richard Schaal, 199–209. Kassel, Germany and New York: Bärenreiter, 1959.

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    Translation of the “Autobiography” in Burney’s Tagebuch, J. J. C. Bode’s translation of The Present State of Music; Bach’s biography is in the first person; possibly the original from which Burney translated the “Autobiography” in his English account of his travels.

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  • Bitter, Carl Herrmann. Carl Philipp Emanuel und Wilhelm Friedemann Bach und deren Brüder. 2 vols. Leipzig: Zentralantiquariat der DDR, 1977.

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    Facsimile reprint of a work originally published in 1868 (Berlin: Wilhelm Müller). A comprehensive life and works, the basis of all subsequent biographies. Contains a short biography of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (1710–1784) and even shorter biographies of Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach (1732–1795) and Johann Christian Bach (1735–1784); several letters from Emanuel Bach; an often inaccurate list of Bach’s works; copies of documents pertaining to Friedemann Bach’s career.

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  • Miesner, Heinrich. Philipp Emanuel Bach in Hamburg. Beiträge zu seiner Biographie und zur Musikgeschichte seiner Zeit. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1979.

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    Reprint of Ph.D. dissertation, Universität Berlin, 1928. Monograph with information about Bach’s life in Hamburg and information about works composed in Hamburg, particularly the choral works. This monograph was especially valuable before the discovery in 1999 of the library of the Berlin Sing-Akademie (this library contains sources of many of Bach’s choral works, previously considered lost).

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  • Ottenberg, Hans-Günter, ed. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Spurensuche: Leben und Werk in Selbstzeugnissen und Dokumenten seiner Zeitgenossen. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Konzepte 1. Leipzig: E. A. Seemann, Kunstverlagsgesellschaft, 1994.

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    A large collection of 18th-century writings and documents by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and relevant to his career.

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  • Ottenberg, Hans-Günter. C. P. E. Bach. Translated by Philip Whitmore. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.

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    Appeared originally in German (Leipzig: Reclam, 1982 and 1987). This life and works, which supersedes Bitter’s biography, is comprehensive and accurate. The appendix of the 1987 edition contains a concordance of Wotquenne and Helm catalogue numbers and an English translation of three letters from Denis Diderot.

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  • Plamenach, Dragan. “New Light on the Last Years of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach.” Musical Quarterly 35 (1949): 565–587.

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    Identifies C. P. E. Bach as the author of the comparison between J. S. Bach and Handel, and Bach’s daughter as the scribe of the genealogy; makes two or three more important discoveries about the life and works of Bach.

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  • Wiermann, Barbara. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: Dokumente zu Leben und Wirken aus der zeitgenössischen hamburgischen Presse (1767–1790). Leipziger Beiträge zur Bach-Forschung 4. Hildesheim, Germany, and New York: Olms, 2000.

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    A collection of excerpts from the Hamburg press pertaining to Bach’s tenure in Hamburg, some with Bach himself as author; contains amply annotated catalogue of people mentioned in this volume.

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Letters

The editions of both the German originals and the English translations of Bach’s correspondence, Clark 1997 and Suchalla 1994, have assembled almost all of Bach’s known letters from a variety of repositories. The majority are business letters addressed to the publisher Johann Gottlieb Immanuel Breitkopf in Leipzig, dealing not only with proofs, prices, and circulation, but also with more personal details of Bach’s life. Bach also wrote letters to distributors of his works, to his admirers, and to collectors, with whom he often exchanged portraits of musicians. The Suchalla collection includes, in addition to Bach’s letters, other documents pertaining to Bach’s life and works; it is copiously annotated. M. H. Schmid 1990 presents 37 letters written by Bach’s daughter, Anna Carolina Philippina Bach (b. 1747–d. 1804) to the collector of Bach’s music in Schwerin, Johann Jakob Heinrich Westphal (b. 1756–d. 1825), first at the behest of her mother, Johanna Maria Dannemann Bach (d. 1795), then on her own behalf, and provides a glimpse of the business practices of the last survivor of Emanuel Bach’s line.

  • Clark, Stephen L., ed. The Letters of C. P. E. Bach. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997.

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    Bach’s letters translated into English and annotated.

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  • Schmid, Manfred Herrmann, ““Das Geschäft mit dem Nachlaß von C. Ph. E. Bach.’ Neue Dokumente zur Wesphal-Sammlung des Conservatoire Royal de Musique und der Bibliothèque Royale de Bellgique in Brüssel.” In Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach und die europäische Musikkultur des mittleren 18. Jahrhunderts: Bericht über das Internationale Symposium der Joachim Jungius-Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften Hamburg 29. September – 2. Oktober 1988. Edited by Hans Joachim Marx, 473–528. Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1990.

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    The article provides an introduction to a collection of letters from surviving members of Bach’s family to J. J. H. Westphal. The letters, printed at the end of the article, are mainly concerned with the sale of Bach’s works to Westphal and the sale of Bach’s collection of musical portraits.

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  • Suchalla, Ernst, ed. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: Briefe und Dokumente. Kritische Gesamtausgabe. 2 vols. Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1994.

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    Contains, in addition to Bach’s letters, other important documents pertaining to his career. Annotation is copious; volume contains much information concerning Bach’s life and works (e.g., lists of subscribers to Bach’s printed compositions); index is well cross-referenced.

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Collections of Essays

Because widespread scholarly interest in Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach is relatively recent, there are only three collections of essays devoted entirely to him. Despite the similar titles, the Richards 2006 and the Clark 1988 collections were published independently of each other, and neither has any connection to a conference in his honor. The collection edited by Heinrich Poos 1993 is more varied, containing reprints of older essays.

  • Clark, Stephen L., ed. C. P. E. Bach Studies. Oxford: Clarendon, 1988.

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    The number of authors (sixteen) and the diversity of topics are commensurate with the increased interest in the music of Bach. Contains many articles about Bach’s musical style aesthetic ideals, and the sources of his works, all in English.

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  • Poos, Heinrich, ed. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Beiträge zu Leben und Werk. Mainz, Germany: B. Schott’s Söhne, 1993.

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    An extremely useful collection of twelve recent articles, and twelve facsimile reprints of celebrated essays, about Bach and his time; provides a cross-section of literature about Bach from 1771 to the present (all in German).

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  • Richards, Annette, ed. C. P. E. Bach Studies. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

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    Although it contains only nine articles, fewer than do the other collections of essays about Bach listed here (including conference reports), this is one of the best. Most of the essays display a high level of sophistication and expertise.

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Conference Reports

Although broad interest in the life and works of C. P. E. Bach is fairly new, a considerable number of conferences have been devoted to him. Two reports listed here are from conferences in Hamburg (Marx 1990) and in Blankenburg/Michaelstein (Thom and Zschochs 1989), each taking place in 1988 in commemoration of the bicentennial year of Bach’s death (1788). The remaining three reports—Ottenberg and Leisinger 2005, Ottenberg and Leisinger 2000, Ottenberg 1998—are from conferences that have taken place as a more or less regular annual function of the Musikgesellschaft Carl Philpp Emanuel Bach in Frankfurt an der Oder. As the title of each suggests, these three conferences were intended to generate interest in Bach throughout Europe, as well as in Germany. Each report contains a large number of articles that vary in scope and quality (some, for example, introduce musical performances). In each collection, however, are seminal essays about Bach’s life, the style, reception, and sources of his works, and performance practices of his time.

  • Marx, Hans Joachim, ed. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach und die europäische Musikkultur des mittleren 18. Jahrhunderts: Bericht über das Internationale Symposium der Joachim Jungius-Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften Hamburg 29. September – 2. Oktober 1988. Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1990.

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    Contains two introductory essays and twenty-nine articles (twenty-eight in German, three in English) from the conference in 1988. The collection reflects serious and rigorous scholarship over a broad spectrum of topics, including historical context, style, genre, performance practice, source transmission, and reception. Articles are included under the following categories: “Die Musik in der europäischen Kultur des mittleren 18. Jahrhunderts,” “Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach in seiner Zeit,” “Gattung und Stil im Instrumentalwerk Bachs,” and “Gattung und Stil im Vokalwerk Bachs.”

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  • Ottenberg, Hans-Günter, ed. Bericht über das Internationale Symposium vom 8l. März bis 12. März 1994 in Frankfurt (Oder): Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Musik für Europa. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Konzepte 2. Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany: Konzerthalle Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, 1998.

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    A diverse collection of three introductory essays and twenty-nine articles (twenty-seven in German, five in English) from the conference in 1994. Articles are divided into four categories: “Biography, Work, Musical Perspective”; “Compositionsal Style and Sources”; “Performance Practice and Instrumental Data”; and “Reception and Transmission of Works.”

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  • Ottenberg, Hans-Günter, and Ulrich Leisinger, eds. Bericht über das Internationale Symposium vom 29. Mär bis 1. April 2001 in Slubice – Frankfurt (Oder) – Cottbus. C. P. E. Bach als Lehrer: Die Verbreitung der Musik C. P. E. Bachs in England und Skandinavien. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Konzepte 4. Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany: Musikgesellschaft Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, 2005.

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    Contains twenty-two articles, all in German, from the conference of 2001; includes a wide range of topics and is divided into two general categories: “Bach as Teacher” (seventeen articles); and “The Circulation of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s Music in England and Scandinavia” (five articles).

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  • Ottenberg, Hans-Günter, and Ulrich Leisinger, eds. Bericht über das Internationale Symposium vom 12. bis 16. März 1998 in Frankfurt (Oder), Zagan und Zielona Gora. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Konzepte 3. Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany: Konzerthalle Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, 2000.

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    This collection of thirty papers, all in German, delivered at the conference in 2000, includes many excellent articles. Topics are divided into two main parts: “Bach’s Sacred Music” (seventeen articles); and “The Circulation of the Works of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach in Mid-Eastern Europe in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries” (thirteen articles).

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  • Thom, Eitelfriedrich, and Frieder Zschochs, eds. Fragen der Aufführungspraxis und Interpretation von Werken Carl Philipp Emanuel Bachs—ein Beitrag zum 100. Todestag: Konferenzbericht der XVI. Wissenschaftlichen Arbeitstagung Michaelstein, 9. Bis 12. Juni 1988. Studien zur Aufführung und Interpretation der Musik des 18. Jahrhunderts, Parts 1–3 (Heft 37–9). Michaelstein-Blankenburg, Germany: Kultur- und Forschungsstätte, 1989.

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    This conference, commemorating the year of Bach’s death (1788), was part of a series of annual meetings devoted to topics of performance practice. Part 1 contains one introductory essay and eleven articles; part 2 contains ten articles; part 3 is available only in a few libraries. Entire collection in German. The essays vary widely in scope and purpose; all deal with some aspect of performance practice.

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Dissertations and Published Monographs

The number of dissertations concerned with aspects of Bach’s life and works has increased considerably since the 1950s. Before that time, the only significant monograph was Ernst Fritz Schmid’s dissertation on Bach’s chamber music (see Style Studies). After the appearance of two foundational studies of the 1950s, Beurmann 1952 and Busch 1957 (see Genre Studies), the number of dissertations about Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s works began to multiply rapidly. Stevens 1965, Berg 1975, and Wade 1981 all deal with particular repertories.

Aesthetic Studies

The study of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s works would not be complete without an exploration of Bach’s aesthetic ideas as reflected in his compositions and in his Versuch über die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen, and without an examination of their context: prevailing aesthetic theories of the entire 18th century. The citations here display various approaches to aesthetic issues and Bach’s relationship to them. Kramer 2006 is a study of the intent of the artist and parallels between the musician and the actor. Richards 2006 examines ways in which the concept of the sublime is related to the work of Bach. Richards 2001 relates Bach’s free fantasias to visual works of the time. Cohen 1973 attempts to derive Bach’s musical style from prevailing aesthetic ideas of its time. Schering 1938, exploring the rhetorical aspects of Bach’s style, is foundational; it is often cited in discussions of Bach’s style.

  • Cohen, Peter. “Theorie und Praxis der Clavierästhetik Carl Philipp Emanuel Bachs.” PhD diss., Universität Hamburg, 1973.

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    Endeavors to demonstrate the derivation of elements of Bach’s style, including embellishments from his Versuch and from his aesthetic in general. Designates affective characteristics of ornaments. Applies thesis with an analysis of ornaments in the F-sharp Minor Fantasia of 1787.

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  • Kramer, Richard. “Diderot’s Paradoxe and C. P. E. Bach’s Empfindungen.” In C. P. E. Bach Studies. Edited by Annette Richards, 6–24. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

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    An essay that draws an analogy between Diderot’s actor, who stands outside of the emotion he undertakes to express, and C. P. E. Bach’s role in the creation of two of his late works

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  • Richards, Annette. “An Enduring Monument: C. P. E. Bach and the Musical Sublime.” In C. P. E. Bach Studies. Edited by Annette Richards, 149–172. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

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    Explores the late-18th-century concept of the sublime and the perception of many of Bach’s contemporaries that his works represented the musical sublime.

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  • Richards, Annette. The Free Fantasia and the Musical Picturesque. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

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    A study that deals with Bach’s fantasias in the context of broader aesthetics of the 18th century.

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  • Schering, Arnold. “C. Ph. E. Bach und das redende Prinzip in der Musik.” Jahrbuch der Musikbibliothek Peters 45 (1938), 13–29.

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    One of the first writings to deal with the attempt of Bach, and of many of his contemporaries, to give their instrumental works a “speaking” character. Discusses the long tradition of connecting music and rhetoric. Reprinted in Poos 1993 (cited under Collections of Essays).

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Style and Genre

The individual and eccentric character of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s style has inspired many scholars to conduct style studies, both large and small. Some studies examine the style of an entire corpus of works (e.g., Schmid 1931 on Bach’s chamber music); some discuss the style of a number of works in connection to their sources, chronology, and authenticity (e.g., Leisinger and Wollny 1993). Some focus on single genres, examining the evolution of these genres under C. P. E. Bach’s hand into idiosyncratic works (e.g., the rondo and the character piece).

Style Studies

Some of these studies (e.g., Yearsley 2006, Kramer 1985, and Fillion 1988) focus upon a particular aspect of Bach’s style. Leisinger and Wollny 1993, Schulenberg 1984, and Schmid 1931 deal more broadly and generally with Bach’s style. All treat the evolution of his style to some extent, with Leisinger and Wollny 1993 devoting particular attention to Bach’s revisions.

  • Fillion, Michelle. “C. P. E. Bach and the Trio Old and New.” In C. P. E. Bach Studies. Edited by Stephen L. Clark, 83–104. Oxford: Clarendon, 1988.

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    A thoughtful study, examining the transformation of Bach’s trios from the obbligato duo to the accompanied keyboard sonata.

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  • Kramer, Richard. “The New Modulation of the 1770s: C. P. E. Bach in Theory, Criticism, and Practice.” Journal of the American Musicological Society 38 (1985): 551–592.

    DOI: 10.1525/jams.1985.38.3.03a00050Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An article that describes the development of Bach’s harmonic style from conventional to eccentric, and locates the new style in his move to Hamburg.

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  • Leisinger, Ulrich, and Peter Wollny. ““Altes Zeug von mir’: Carl Philipp Emanuel Bachs kompositorisches Schaffen vor 1740.” Bach-Jahrbuch 79 (1993): 127–204.

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    Examines the style and sources of Bach’s early vocal music, organ works, keyboard music, chamber music, and compositions in other genres; an indispensable study for the history of Bach’s style.

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  • Schmid, Ernst Fritz. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach und seine Kammermusik. Kassel, Germany: Bärenreiter, 1931.

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    A foundational study, which establishes Bach’s chamber music repertory and its sources, and examines the style of his chamber music.

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  • Schulenberg, David. The Instrumental Music of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research Press, 1984.

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    A study that deals with forms and textures of Bach’s instrumental works in many genres and traces gradual changes in Bach’s style from the 1740s to the last two decades of his career.

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  • Yearsley, David. “C. P. E. Bach and the Living Traditions of Learned Counterpoint.” In C. P. E. Bach Studies. Edited by Annette Richards, 173–201. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

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    Challenges the frequent allegation that Bach disliked counterpoint and rejected this aspect of his father’s style as pedantic. Adduces examples of canons composed by Bach and provides evidence that Bach was an enthusiastic creator of canons.

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Genre Studies

Three studies of Bach’s rondos (Chrzanowski 1911, Clercx 1935, and Cole 2001) all focus on the way in which Bach moved away from the traditional rondeau of the early 18th century and developed his own version of the genre. The two studies of Bach’s character pieces (Edler 1986 and Berg 1988) discuss these works in the context of a tradition of character studies, literary and musical. Busch 1957 on Bach’s Lieder is devoted to establishing the entire repertory of Bach’s songs, their musical style, and their historical development. Youngren 2003 includes a lengthy discussion of the concept of the Lied in the works of music theorists; the most original and interesting part of his monograph is his analysis of the style of Bach’s Lieder.

  • Berg, Darrell. “C. P. E. Bach’s Character Pieces and His Friendship Circle.” In C. P. E. Bach Studies. Edited by Stephen L. Clark, 1–32. Oxford: Clarendon, 1988.

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    A study that examines the historical roots of the genre, its structure and style, and undertakes to identify the people described in Bach’s character pieces.

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  • Busch, Gudrun. C. Ph. E. Bach und seine Lieder. Edited by Karl Gustav Fellerer. Kölner Beiträge zur Musikforschung 12. Regensburg, Germany: Gustav Bosse Verlag, 1957.

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    A foundational monograph that deals with all of Bach’s works for a single voice with keyboard accompaniment. Contains complete list of Bach’s Lieder and known authors of their texts.

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  • Chrzanowski, Witold. Das instrumentale Rondeau und die Rondoformen im XVIII. Jahrhundert. Leipzig: Reudnitz, 1911.

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    A monograph that traces the development of the 18th-century rondo from the rondeau and devotes considerable attention to Bach’s modulating rondos (particularly, pp. 36–44). Chrzanowski identifies as rondos some movements of keyboard pieces that are not explicitly designated as belonging to the genre.

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  • Clercx, Suzanne. “La Forme du rondo chez Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach.” Revue de Musicologie 17 (1935): 148–167.

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    An article that is indispensable to the study of Bach’s rondos; describes their structure and identifies some undesignated rondos in his oeuvre.

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  • Cole, Malcolm. Rondo. Grove Music Online.

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    Cole’s succinct discussion of Bach’s rondos is one of the most balanced and thorough accounts of the genre that has appeared up to the present time. Originally published in The New Grove, 2d ed., vol. 21, 649–656 (London: Macmillan, 2001), particularly p. 651.

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  • Edler, Arnfried. “Das Charakterstück Carl Philipp Emanuel Bachs und die französische Tradition.” In Studien zur deutsch-französischen Musikgeschichte im 18. Jahrhundert: Einflüsse und Wirkungen. Edited by Wolfgang Birtel and Christoph-Hellmut Mahling, 219–235. Annales Universitatis Saraviensis: Reihe Philosophische Fakultät 20. Heidelberg, Germany: Winter, 1986.

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    A study that traces the history of the character study from Theophrastus through La Bruyère and the works of the French clavecinistes.

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  • Youngren, William H. C. P. E. Bach and the Rebirth of Strophic Song. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2003.

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    A treatment of Bach’s Lieder that includes a copious account of theoretical works concerning songs; the most valuable aspect of this monograph is Youngren’s analysis of Bach’s Lieder.

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Reception and Source Studies

Study of the reception of Bach’s works—their vogue, their disappearance into obscurity, and their present resurrection—has increased significantly over the past two decades. It is accompanied by some impressive studies of sources of Bach’s music, his copyists, and the publication of his works. All are related in various ways to the reception of his works. The second edition of the Kast 2003 catalogue, despite a number of uncorrected errors, contains, implicitly, information about the reception of Bach’s works. Daub 1996 is an excellent study of a general process applied to a particularly repertory. Kulukundis 1995 and Leisinger 1991 deal with the fate of Bach’s musical estate after his death. The exhibition catalogue, Klein 1988, provides an overview of materials pertaining to Bach’s life and works.

  • Daub, Peggy. “The Publication Process and Audience for C. P. E. Bach’s Sonaten für Kenner und Liebhaber.” In Bach Perspectives. Vol. 2, J. S. Bach, the Breitkopfs, and Eighteenth-Century Music Trade. Edited by George B. Stauffer, 65–83. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1996.

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    A study of Bach as self-publisher, devoting particular attention to his publication of the Kenner und Liebhaber collections (1779–1787).

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  • Kast, Paul. Die Bach-Sammlung: Katalog und Register nach Paul Kast, die Bach-Handschriften der Berliner Staatsbibliothek, 1958. Edited by Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin—Preußischer Kulturbesitz. Munich: K. G. Saur, 2003.

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    A list of the manuscripts of works by members of the Bach family in the Berlin State Library. Identifies copyists and owners, thus providing important information about Bach’s oeuvre, the authenticity of works attributed to him, and the reception of his works.

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  • Klein, Hans-Günter, ed. “Er ist Original!”: Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, sein musikalisches Werk in Autographen und Erstdrucken aus der Musikabteilung der Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz Berlin. Ausstellung in Berlin zum 200. Todestag des Komponisten 14. Dezember 1988 bis 11. Februar 1989. Wiesbaden, Germany: Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag, 1988.

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    Catalog of exhibition containing copies of portraits, autograph manuscripts, prints, engravings, and letters. Of wider use than that for which it was originally intended—contains many facsimiles and annotation that serve as a graphic representation of Bach’s life and works and the sources of his music.

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  • Kulukundis, Elias. “Die Versteigerung von C. P. E. Bachs musikalischem Nachlaß im Jahre 1805.” Bach-Jahrbuch 81 (1995): 145–176.

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    Describes the dispersion of the scores owned by Bach’s daughter Anna Carolina Philippina after her death in 1804 and identifies many of the items listed in the auction catalogue.

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  • Leisinger, Ulrich. “Die “Bachsche Auction’ von 1789.” Bach-Jahrbuch 77 (1991): 97–126.

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    Studies the auction that took place in Hamburg about six months after Bach’s death and identifies many of the items listed in the auction catalogue as scores and books about music formerly in Bach’s possession. Contributes to the knowledge of Bach’s life and some of his musical preferences.

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Organology and Performance Practice

This section pertains to instruments of Bach’s lifetime and to performance practice in its broadest sense. Sanders 2000 is concerned, for example, with the way in which Bach’s works, mostly his choral works, were performed in the five churches for which he supervised the music. Rost 1998 contains the history of the two organs built for Princess Amalia of Prussia: their builders, their disposition, and their survival, with modifications, to the present day. Fuller 1978 describes registration of 18th-century harpsichords in general and the disposition that Bach prescribed for his Sonata in D Minor, Wq 69. Schenker 1967 is a foundational study that deals with Bach’s ornamentation in particular and the concept of diminution in general.

  • Fuller, David. “Harpsichord Registration.” Diapason 69.8.1 (July 1978): 6–7.

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    An article that describes 18th-century harpsichord registration in general and focuses on Bach’s Sonata in D Minor for Two Keyboards, Wq 69 and Bach’s registration for this piece.

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  • Rost, Martin. “Die Orgeln der Anna Amalia von Preußen von Migendt und Marx.” In Bericht über das Internationale Symposium vom 8l. März bis 12. März 1994 in Frankfurt (Oder). Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Musik für Europa. Edited by Hans-Günter Ottenberg. Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany: Konzerthalle Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, 1998.

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    A description of the organ for which Bach composed his five organ sonatas and prelude and of the second organ that his patron, Princess Amalia of Prussia, had built for her. Contains a list of the disposition of both instruments.

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  • Sanders, Reginald. “Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach und Liturgical Music at the Hamburg Principal Churches from 1768 to 1788.” PhD diss., Yale University, 2000.

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    A thorough study of the schedule of musical performances in the five municipal churches of Hamburg, the music performed, and the performers.

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  • Schenker, Heinrich. “A Contribution to the Study of Ornamentation.” Translated by Heidi Siegal. Music Forum 4 (1967): 1–139.

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    English translation of Ein Beitrag zur Ornamentik: Als Einführung zu C. Ph. E. Bachs Klavierwerke (Vienna: Universal, 1908; reprint Vienna: Universal-Edition, 1954). One of the earliest 20th-century writings to deal with Bach’s style of embellishment and with the concept of diminution.

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