C. P. E. Bach from Ashgate

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
edited by David Schulenberg
from Ashgate Publishing

This volume, published in 2015 as part of Ashgate’s “Late Eighteenth-Century Composers” series, gathers together important writings on all aspects of the life and music of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714–1788). The second son of the more famous Johann Sebastian Bach, C.P.E. Bach was an important figure in his own right, writing roughly one thousand compositions in virtually all the major eighteenth-century genres save for opera. Working first in Berlin and later in Hamburg, he was also known as a performer on keyboard instruments, and his two-volume Essay on that subject (known in German as the Versuch) remains a valuable source of information on eighteenth-century performance practice.

My introduction to the volume can serve as a guide to published scholarship on C. P. E. Bach. The introduction, together with a bibliography and a list of the 24 selections included in the volume, can be viewed here. Each selection comprises previously published material; some items are articles also available in online databases, but most are taken from hard-to-find sources that are not available electronically. The book falls into four parts titled (1) The composer and his works; (2) Individual compositions and their sources; (3) The Versuch and other writings; and (4) Performance and reception. Among the authors represented are Thomas Christensen, Christopher Hogwood, Mary Oleskiewicz, Annette Richards, Miklós Spányi, Christoph Wolff, and Peter Wollny.

The great majority of the material is in English. Newly published in this volume is the editor’s translation of an important early twentieth-century essay by Arnold Schering, as well as the editor’s overview of writings on C.P.E. Bach, which serves as introduction to the volume. An English version of an important article by Darrell M. Berg, originally published in German and reprinted here as “Carl Philipp Emanuel Bachs Umarbeitungen seiner Claviersonaten,” could not be accommodated within the new volume and therefore appears online here. I am grateful to the author for providing me with this English-language version of her article.