The New International Encyclopædia/Bach, Karl Philipp Emanuel

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The New International Encyclopædia
Bach, Karl Philipp Emanuel
Edition of 1905. See also Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

BACH, Karl Philipp Emanuel (1714-88). Styled the ‘Berlin’ or ‘Hamburg’ Bach. He was the second son of Johann Sebastian, and was born at Weimar. He attended the famous Thomasschule, and afterwards the University of Leipzig. In 1740 he went to Berlin, where he was appointed chamber-musician to Frederick the Great. In 1767 he became kapellmeister at Hamburg, where he passed the remainder of his life. His most ambitious composition is the oratorio of Israel in the Wilderness. The greater portion of his numerous works was written for his favorite instrument, the clavier (the piano of that day). His essay on The True Method of Clavier Playing was long a standard work, and contains invaluable information on the styles of playing prevalent at the time. Clementi professed to have derived from Bach his distinctive style of pianoforte-playing, and Haydn is said to have acknowledged his deep obligation to Bach's works. It was from these works that Haydn learned in embryonic form the cantata and symphony, of which Bach “may fairly claim to have been the originator, though Haydn enriched it and gave it permanence.” As a psalm, ode, and song writer, Bach surpassed his contemporaries, and gained great popularity. His idea of the purpose of music he explained by saying: “In my opinion the grand object of music is to touch the heart; and this end can never be obtained by mere noise, drumming, and arpeggios — at all events, not by me.”