Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/125

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BACH.
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or wandered about with travelling musicians, but always sinking deeper and deeper. Quite at the last he received an appointment as Capellmeister at Hessen- Darmstadt, but he never took the post, and died at Berlin in 1784 in a state of great degradation and want. He was the greatest organ-player of his time, a thorough master of the theory of music, in which his remarkable mathematical knowledge was of great service to him, a master of fugue, and a famous improviser. Very few of his compositions have been published; he only wrote them down when necessity forced him to. This shows with what facility he could compose, but also how indifferent a matter it was to him. The royal library at Berlin possesses a good many of his writings, and some have been printed in the different collections of old pianoforte music. Two noble fantasias were introduced by Madame Arabella Goddard at the Monday Popular Concerts, and have been published in London.

Wilhelm Friedrich Ernst [24], son of the Bückeburg Bach, and the last grandson of Sebastian. Born at Bückeburg in 1759 [App. p.526 "May 27"], he was educated under his father's care until able to perform in public; he then accepted an invitation from his uncle Christian in London. There he remained some years, much sought after and respected as a pianoforte teacher. On his uncle's death he returned to Germany and settled at Minden. On the accession of King Frederic William II of Prussia he wrote a 'Huldigungs cantata,' and was rewarded by being called to Berlin in 1790 as 'cembalist' to the Queen, with the title of Capellmeister. This post he retained under Queen Louise, wife of Frederic William III, and after her death retired into private life. He was the teacher of the royal children, as he had been of Frederic William III and his brothers. He lived in complete retirement till 1845 [App. p.526 "Dec. 25"]. As the sole and last representative of the family, he assisted, with his wife and two daughters, at the inauguration of the monument erected to the memory of Johann Sebastian in front of the 'Thomas Schule' at Leipsic in 1843 through the efforts and instigation of Mendelssohn. With him the descendants of Johann Sebastian Bach became extinct. He was a good pianoforte and violin player, but his modesty prevented him from often appearing, and although he wrote much, in many styles, very little of his music is published.

Carl Philipp Emanuel [25], third son of Sebastian, often styled the Berlin or Hamburg Bach, born at Weimar March 14, 1714. His general precocity, quickness, and openness to impressions, induced his father to bring him up to the study of philosophy. With this view he went to the Thomas School and afterwards to the universities of Leipsic and Frankfort-on-the-Oder, where he entered on the study of law. But the thorough grounding in music which, as a matter of course, he had received from his father, and the natural influences of so musical a house, had virtually decided his future. When he entered at Frankfort he was already not only a fine player but a thorough musician. While there he conducted a singing society, which gave him opportunities of composing, and at length he finally relinquished law for music, in 1737 went to Berlin, and in 1746 obtained the appointment of Kammer-musiker and cembalist at the Court, with the special duty of accompanying Frederic the Great's flute solos at the private concerts. The Seven Years War (1757) however put an end to this pleasant position. Bach migrated to Hamburg and took the direction of the music in one of the churches there. In 1767 he succeeded Telemann, and this post he held till his death, Sept. or Dec. 14, 1788. [App. p.526 replaces preceding 3 sentences with "Emanuel Bach entered the service of the Crown Prince of Prussia (afterwards Frederick II.) in 1738, and remained in it uninterruptedly until 1767, when he went to Hamburg as Telemann's successor. He died there Dec. 14, 1788."] As composer, director, teacher, and critic, his influence was very great, and he was beloved and respected both by his brother professionals and by the whole town. His goodness, pleasant manners, literary culture, and great activity in music, all combined to place him at the head of his father's sons and scholars. But when we remember that for a Bach his musical gifts were by no means extraordinary—far below those of Friedemann, for example—it is plain that he stands so high because he is recognised historically as one of the most remarkable figures in the transition period between J. S. Bach and Haydn. In such periods a man is eminent and influential more from his general cultivation than from proficiency in any special branch. At the particular time at which E. Bach lived there were no great men. The gigantic days of Handel and Bach were exchanged for a time of peruke and powder, when the highest ideal was neatness, smoothness, and elegance. Depth, force, originality, were gone, and 'taste' was the most important word in all things. But taste has to do with externals, and therefore lays an undue stress on outward form in art, and this was the direction taken by the musical works which acted as important precursors of the so-called classical period. Nowhere does the tendency to formal construction show itself so strongly as in the works of Emanuel Bach, and he is therefore to be regarded as the immediate precursor of Haydn. No doubt he is affected and restricted by the tendencies of the time, but he had the power of bringing them together and throwing them into artistic form, and therefore his works are of greater importance than those of any of his contemporaries. To form a right judgment of him as a composer he must be regarded apart from his father, and solely from the point of view of his own time; and when so judged it is impossible to deny that he surpassed most of his contemporaries, and is of paramount importance as a connecting link between the periods of Handel and Bach on the one hand and Haydn and Mozart on the other. His music is wanting in depth and earnestness, but it is always cheerful, highly finished, often full of intelligence and charm; and in regard to form, where his relation to Haydn—a man far more gifted than himself—is most evident, we find him in possession of all those germs which in Haydn's hands sprang into such luxuriant growth—the homophonic thematic movement,