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8.550556 - BACH, C.P.E. / MARCELLO, A.: Oboe Concertos
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714 - 1788)
Alessandro Marcello (1684 - 1750)
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was born in 1714 in Weimar, the second son by his first wife of Johann Sebastian Bach, then newly appointed Konzertmeister to the Grand Duke Wilhelm Ernst. He attended the Latin School in Cöthen, where his father became Court Kapellmeister in 1717, and in 1723 moved with the family to Leipzig, where he became a pupil at the Thomasschule, on the staff of which his father had become Cantor. In 1731 he matriculated as a law student at the University of Leipzig, embarking on a course of study that had been denied his father. He continued these studies at the University of Frankfurt an der Oder and in 1738, rejecting the chance of accompanying a young gentleman on a tour abroad, he entered the service of the Crown Prince of Prussia at Ruppin as harpsichordist, moving with the court to Berlin in 1740, on the accession to the throne of the Prince, better known subsequently as Frederick the Great.
In Berlin and at Potsdam Bach, confirmed as Court Harpsichordist, had the unenviable task of accompanying evening concerts at which the King, an able enough amateur flautist, was a frequent performer. His colleagues, generally of a more conservative tendency, included the distinguished flautist and theorist Quantz, the Benda and Graun brothers and other musicians of similar reputation, while men of letters at the court included Lessing. On his father's death in 1750 Bach applied for his position in Leipzig, but was unsuccessful and it was not until 1768 that he was able to escape from a position that he found increasingly uncongenial, succeeding his godfather Telemann as Cantor at the Johanneum in Hamburg, a city that offered much wider opportunities than Leipzig. Bach spent the last twenty years of his life in Hamburg. In Berlin he had won a wider reputation with his Versuch über die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen (Essay on the True Art of Clavier Playing) and was regarded as the leading keyboard-player of his day. In Hamburg he continued to enjoy his established position as a man of wide general education, able to mix on equal terms with the leading writers of his generation and no mere working musician. He died in 1788, his death mourned by a generation that thought of him as more important than his father, dubbed "the old periwig" by his sons.
As a composer Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was prolific, writing a considerable quantity of music for the harpsichord. His music exemplifies the theories expounded in his Versuch, with a tendency to use dramatic and rhetorical devices, a fine command of melody and a relatively sparing use of the contrapuntal elements that had by now come to seem merely academic. In musical terms he is associated with Lessing's theories of sentiment, Empfindsamkeit, the complement of Enlightenment rationalism.
The two concertos for oboe and strings, in B fiat and E fiat respectively, were arranged in 1765 from two harpsichord concertos written in the same year, while the A minor Sonata, written in 1747, was originally designed for unaccompanied flute. It was later published in the periodical Musikalisches Mancherley in Berlin in 1762-63.
Alessandro Marcello was born in Venice in 1684 and is thus a near contemporary of Johann Sebastian Bach. He was, like his younger brother Benedetto, a distinguished amateur, with a wide interest in the arts. In Venice his house at1racted a circle of well known musicians and he himself was admit1ed to the Arcadian Academy, a society of literati, taking the pastoral pseudonym Eterio Stinfalco. The D minor Oboe Concerto, at one time attributed, in a lower key, to Benedetto Marcello, was published in a collection in 1717 and was transcribed by Bach for solo harpsichord. The ornaments from this transcription are used in the present performance of a work characteristic of the age of Vivaldi.
Jószef Kiss, oboe
Ferenc Erkel Chamber Orchestra
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