C.P.E. Bach and the emergence of the Classical Symphony
- Origins of the Classical Symphony
- The roots of the Classical symphony are found in the Italian opera overture which was presented in three contrasting sections: fast-slow-fast. The sections gradually expanded to become movements. With the contributions of the Mannheim school, the symphony budded as one of the prominent absolute music genres of the Classical era
- The pre-Classical time period, labelled as “Rococo”, was one that desired to be simple and expressive of natural feeling. These were the first stirrings of emotionalism which were to come to a blossom with the Romantic era. This new style reached J.S. Bach’s sons who worked as composers and they witnessed the expansion of the sonata and concerto and the birth of the symphony based on the sonata-cycle
Carl Philippe Emanual Bach (1714-1788)
J.S. Bach’s son, C.P.E. Bach, was one of the most outstanding composers of the pre-Classical time period. He worked to expand idiomatic keyboard music and wrote a theoretical treatise “Essay on the True Art of Keyboard Instruments” which gives us much insight on the techniques used during this time period. His music revealed the longing to express natural feeling.