Bach, Karl Philipp Emanuel


The third son of Johann Sebastian Bach, and although the least gifted musically, he became, on account of his capacity for work, the most famous. His father intended that he should study philosophy and he was educated at the Thomas School, Leipsic, and later studied law at Frankfort, but his inherited love of music was too strong and the musical training he had received from his father too thorough, to allow him to become anything but a musician. While at Frankfort he composed some music for a singing society, which he conducted there. In 1738 he went to Berlin and in 1746 was appointed chamber-musician to Frederick the Great. This position he held until 1767, when he went to Hamburg, where he remained until his death as music-director of the principal church. Emanuel Bach was great as a composer, a teacher and a director and was also a man of. much culture and refinement. He is considered the real founder of the modern school of piano playing and is said to be the link between his father and Handel on the one hand and Haydn and Mozart on the other. His most pronounced characteristic was, perhaps, his great attention to form and finish, which, in his day, were considered the chief requisites of music. He was a most voluminous composer, his instrumental works being the most valuable. He wrote two hundred and ten solo pieces for the piano; two beautiful sonatas for the violin and piano; eighteen orchestral works; fifty-two concertos with orchestral accompaniments thirty-four compositions for wind instruments; beside pieces for the flute, oboe and violoncello. His vocal works consisted of two oratorios; twenty-two Passions; many cantatas, motets, hymns and songs; and also choruses and secular songs.