Accompanist to Frederick the Great, the second son of JS Bach was also a composer of rare inventiveness and beauty.

Mostly in Berlin, Hamburg
Best known for Keyboard sonatas and concertos, flute concertos, cello concertos
Similar to Mozart, Haydn, Carl and Anton Stamitz, JC Bach

Dr Charles Burney, the distinguished music historian, undertook two tours of Europe for his ground-breaking A General History of Music. A high point, in 1772, was Hamburg and a visit to Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach.

Burney had “long contemplated, with the highest delight, his elegant and original compositions; and they had created in me so strong a desire to see, and to hear him, that I wanted no other musical temptation to visit this city”. His description, in The Present State of Music In Germany, of three meetings with Bach, from October 9 to 11, gives us a rare and intimate picture of CPE Bach the man. He was witty and amusing, ready with a light-hearted comment – that some of his music was to be performed in St. Catharine’s Church that Sunday, and that Burney shouldn’t bother to go, because it would be badly performed (he went, and it was!).

Bach claimed that he had...

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