Sunday, February 9, 2014

300th Anniversary of the birth of C.P.E. Bach

This post was created in specific response to James M. Keller's article in Chamber Music about the 300th anniversary of the birth of Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach.  The article, "A Tricentennial Nod to C.P.E. Bach", points out that the anniversary is likely to go "largely uncelebrated", and easily makes the case that this lack of attention is unjustified.

As it turns out, there are celebrations taking place, but perhaps not in the U.S.; this blog entry is an attempt to spread the word and give some ideas about how to get in on the fun.

Piano teachers and students, if they know nothing else about C.P.E. Bach, know him for the "Solfeggietto", H. 220, W. 117.  Here are two tutorials on the piece.  It has been transcribed for other instruments, as well.  He also wrote several pieces included in his father's Notebooks for Anna Magdalena Bach.

But he also wrote for many other instruments, in many combinations.  His works for chorus and orchestra include a Magnificat and oratorios, such as Israel in the Wilderness and Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus.

So how can you celebrate?  If you play or teach the flute, piano, and/or other instruments he wrote for, it's easy: simply study and teach C.P.E. Bach's works, include them in recital programs, and mention the anniversary in your publicity.   If you study an instrument that he didn't write for, why not transcribe or arrange one or more of his pieces?  While there are a number of recordings of his work on Wikimedia Commons, there is still plenty of room for contributions; why not upload a recording of your performance (being aware of these guidelines)?

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