Saturday, October 18, 2014

Like Baroque, Like Classical

Maybe the greatest composer ever, Johann Sebastian Bach, had a large musical family as he gave birth to four great musicians and composers, two by his first wife and two by his second wife. In my opinion, the best of those four was Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach whose mother was Maria Barbara Bach [J.S. Bach's first wife before she died].

Carl Philipp Emanuel was affectionately known as C.P. E. Bach.

While his father Johann Sebastian was the quintessential Baroque composer, C.P.E. Bach lived in the transition period between the late Baroque and early classical period's of music, known as the Rococo period.  While C.P.E. Bach was trained and influenced by his famous father in the Baroque style, the young C.P.E. Bach transitioned with most of his compositions tending more to the classical style.

He mostly used the harpsichord for his keyboard concertos which was the instrument used in the Baroque period, but as you will hear in the first video he also composed for the piano.

             Like father
J.S. Bach-Baroque composer
                                       Like son
C.P.E. Bach-Baroque/Classical Composer

I have two compositions from Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach which will show the transition of his music from the Baroque style of his father to the Classical style of Mozart and Haydn,   First, the final movement of an unusual double concerto of a harpsichord [the keyboard instrument used in the Baroque period] and the fortepiano [aka piano, the keyboard instrument used in the classical era].  Then the second video is the Allegro Assai movement of CPE Bach's Cello concerto in A Major.

Both of these pieces have a light pleasant quality, and both will remind you more of a composition you might hear from the great classical composers as opposed to the music you might hear from the great Baroque composers [the greatest of which was his Dad] with its polyphonic style. 

When I hear a piece of classical music for the first time, I like to guess the composer.  For just being a fan of classical music and not a professional or musically trained, I must admit that I am pretty good at guessing the composer.  Listening to both of these pieces, I would have guessed [and been wrong] that they were composed by the great classical composer, Franz Joseph "Papa" Haydn.  They both have the fun bright playful nature that you hear in a Haydn composition. 

Please turn up the volume, relax and enjoy some pleasant Bach, C.P.E., that is.

C.P.E. Bach: Double Concerto for Harpsichord and Piano in E Flat Major,Movement 3, Presto:

C.P.E. Bach: Cello Concerto in A-Major, Movement 3, Allegro Assai:

Now for a Tales special bonus video - as we heard the son, let's hear some beautiful music from his famous father, the great Johann Sebastian Bach.  When you hear this beautiful piece you do not want it to just want to hear more. 
Note:  it takes about 15 seconds for the audio to come on in the following video

Johann Sebastian Bach:  Orchestral Suite #3 in D-Major, 2nd movement, "Air on the g-string":


Pamela said...

So true, Michael. Two other masterpieces of C.P.E. Bach that I adore are his flute concerto in D minor and his flute concerto in G major.

Big Mike said...

Thanks so much Pamela!!