c p e bach

Not PDQ but CPE (Carl Philipp Emanuel) Bach.... son of J.S.

So I have been doing some thinking about good old CPE.

His book, Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments, has been on my shelf and in my hands ever since I started thinking about the actual performance practices of historical music.

But recently I ran across mention of  his Sechs sonaten furs clavier mit veranderten Reprisen. They sounded interesting so I interlibrary loaned a fancy copy of them. I liked them so much I decided to purchase them. I was willing to shell out the 50 bucks for the fancy edition. But, Sheetmusicplus.com told me it would take 4-5 weeks to get it in stock. Screw that. Instead I found a three volume edition from the 80s priced at about 10 bucks a volume. Cheaper and quicker.

Volume 3 arrived yesterday. Now I am confused. I can’t find the varied repetitions that were so obvious in the first few I looked at. Hmmm. But the music is quite delightful. I own the Dover volumes of CPE but the pieces in them have never really turned me on. They are too “jerky” for me for the most part. In them, CPE quickly moves from one idea and emotion to another in ways that don’t make sense to or attract me.

But these pieces are different. More unified. And he is obviously working his way toward the sonata form of Mozart, Haydn and even Beethoven.  I also wonder about the fact that there are actually about 18 sonatas in this volume even though the title of the work is Six Sonatas. Anyway, the second volume has arrived and I am hoping for the first one soon. I think when I have all the music I can do a little detective work and try and figure out what he is doing compositionally.

I’ll close today’s blog with a new pic I found on a friends blog.


I liked it so I’m using a cropped down version for my facebook profile pic for a while. Thanks for taking this, Jonny (link to his blog).

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