Schulenberg’s groundbreaking new book explores music of C.P.E. Bach

Schulenberg’s groundbreaking new book explores music of C.P.E. Bach

Schulenberg CPE Bach book coverWagner College music historian David Schulenberg’s new book, “The Music of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach,” will be published next month by the University of Rochester Press, a partner of the humanities publishing house Boydell & Brewer.

Of the four sons of J.S. Bach who became composers, Carl Philipp Emanuel (1714-88) was the most prolific, the most original and the most influential, both during and after his lifetime. This first full-length English-language study critically surveys his output, examining not only the famous keyboard sonatas and concertos but also the songs, chamber music, and sacred works, many of which resurfaced in 1999 and have not previously been evaluated. The book also outlines the composer’s career from his student days at Leipzig and Frankfurt (Oder) to his nearly three decades as court musician to Prussian King Frederick “the Great” and his last twenty years as cantor at Hamburg.

Focusing on the composer’s choices within his social and historical context, the book shows how C.P.E. Bach deliberately avoided his father’s style while adopting the manner of his Berlin colleagues, derived from Italian opera. A new perspective on the composer emerges from the demonstration that C.P.E. Bach, best known for his virtuoso keyboard works, refashioned himself as a writer of vocal music and popular chamber compositions in response to changing cultural and aesthetic trends. Supplementary texts and musical examples are included on a companion website.

Music historian and harpsichordist David Schulenberg is professor of music and chairman of the Music Department at Wagner College. He earned his B.A. from Harvard College, his M.A. from Stanford University and his Ph.D. from Stony Brook University. Before joining the Wagner College music faculty in 2001, he taught at Columbia University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“The Music of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach” follows the publication of Schulenberg’s “The Music of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach” (University of Rochester Press, 2010) as well as several collections of musical scores by Johann Sebastian, Wilhelm Friedemann and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach edited by Schulenberg.

For more about the work of David Schulenberg, visit his faculty website.