Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach (1714-1788)

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Episodes

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01The Belligerent Flautist2011052320140303

Donald Macleod on CPE Bach's work as a harpsichordist at the court of Frederick the Great.

The Belligerent Flautist

Imagine being JS Bach's son, growing up in a gigantic shadow with a great weight of expectation on your shoulders, and trying to earn a living as a composer. These days, almost inevitably, the career of Carl Philipp Emmanuel, Johann Sebastian's second son - and those of the other Bach children - are almost entirely obscured by the reputation of their father. But CPE Bach is the man of whom Mozart said, "he is the father, we are the children. Those of us who know anything at all learned it from him".

This week, Donald Macleod discovers that there's more to CPE Bach than his famous name. In Monday's programme, CPE finds a job at the court of the famously belligerent Frederick the Great of Prussia. When Frederick wasn't busy annexing parts of Europe, he liked nothing better than to play the flute, so an important part of CPE Bach's duties was to provide pieces for the king to perform, and to accompany him when he did. Music in the programme includes the Concerto for Flute in D minor, and an organ sonata written for Frederick's equally musical sister, Anna Amalia.

02Fathers And Sons2011052420140304

Donald Macleod explores the relationship between CPE Bach and his famous father.

Fathers and Sons

"In composition and keyboard playing, I never had any other teacher than my father." It could so easily have gone horribly wrong: one of the greatest musical minds the world has ever known, teaching his musical offspring himself. But Johann Sebastian Bach clearly had very special qualities and seems to have remained on good terms with all of his children. In today's programme, Donald Macleod explores the relationship between CPE Bach and his famous father.

03To Stir The Heart2011052520140305

Donald Macleod on how the Seven Years War affected CPE Bach's life in Berlin.

To Stir the Heart

Donald Macleod discovers how the Seven Years War affected life in Berlin during CPE Bach's tenure as harpsichordist at the court of Frederick the Great, and finds insights into Bach's musical philosophy: "I believe that music must, first and foremost, stir the heart...".

Donald Macleod discovers how the Seven Years War affected life in Berlin during CPE Bach's tenure as harpsichordist at the court of Frederick the Great, and finds insights into Bach's musical philosophy: "I believe that music must, first and foremost, stir the heart...".

04Ich Bin Ein Hamburger2011052620140306

Donald Macleod finds out what life was like for CPE Bach after he moved to Hamburg.

Ich bin ein Hamburger

In 1768 CPE Bach left Berlin after 30 years' service at the court of Frederick the Great of Prussia and started a new job in Hamburg, where he took over from his godfather, Telemann, as musical director of the city's five most prominent churches. Life was good - according to one visitor, "Bach has a talkative wife, a rather unattractive but well-mannered daughter, a son who is a lawyer, good wine and good beer". Donald Macleod finds out what life was like for the Bach family in the more commercial atmosphere of Hamburg, the biggest port and trading centre of the German lands.

In 1768 CPE Bach left Berlin after 30 years' service at the court of Frederick the Great of Prussia and started a new job in Hamburg, where he took over from his godfather, Telemann, as musical director of the city's five most prominent churches.

Life was good - according to one visitor, "Bach has a talkative wife, a rather unattractive but well-mannered daughter, a son who is a lawyer, good wine and good beer".

Donald Macleod finds out what life was life for the Bach family in the more commercial atmosphere of Hamburg, the biggest port and trading centre of the German lands.

05 LASTA Very Remarkable And Famous Man20110527

Donald Macleod explores CPE Bach's skill in writing music for the middle class in Hamburg.

A Very Remarkable and Famous Man

Times were changing during the second half of the 18th century.

A whole new group of people emerged - the middle class.

They wanted to be entertained and to acquire the accomplishments of the gentry - playing the harpsichord and the like.

For several centuries beforehand music had revolved around the church and the aristocracy, but no more.

Composers had to take note of their new audience and CPE Bach immediately recognised the opportunities of a city full of amateur musicians.

As he put it to a colleague, "in works that are intended for general consumption, be less abstruse and put in more sugar".

Donald Macleod tells the story of CPE Bach's commercial success.