Dec 06, 2021  
College Catalog 2019-2020 
College Catalog 2019-2020 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

MHMUS 413 — C.P.E. Bach, Frederick the Great, and the Enlightenment Court

3 credits
Martin Verdrager

Prerequisite: MHMUS 311 . The year 2014 marks the 300th anniversary of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s birth. The second surviving son of J. S. Bach, Emanuel Bach would become one of the most creative composers of the early Classical period. From 1738 until 1768, he worked at the court of Frederick the Great, who was just two years older than Emanuel. A remarkable military strategist, Frederick wrote of his experience and ken in an influential treatise. C. P. E. Bach wrote a significant tract about keyboard performance and methodology. Frederick attracted many of the leading figures of the Enlightenment. Emanuel collected portraits of the most important musicians of his time and corresponded with them. Frederick’s politics helped spur Germany into unification nearly 60 years after his death, and he remained a hero to Germans until the days of WWII. Emanuel helped turn the tide of the style galant towards more introspective realms of harmonic and melodic thinking; his novel empfindsamer Stil (sensitive style) works inspired composers from Haydn to Richard Strauss. The class will examine the substance of C. P. E. Bach’s and Frederick’s lives and musical works through class performances, oral projects, and short essays about 18th-century music, poetry, the substance of Enlightenment, painting, and the beginnings of musical biography.