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1759 C.P.E. Bach in E minor


1759 C.P.E. Bach Symphony in E minor (Wq178)
Instrumentation Strings, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 horns
Movements I: Allegro assai (e) – II: Andante moderato (G) III: Allegro (e)
Overview C.P.E. Bach is one of the composers associated with the Empfindsamer Stil or ‘senstive style’. The emphasis is on provoking emotion, often through dramatic contrasts and unexpected chromatic turns.

Look at a  score of this work

Essay Points
A) Overall form Unusually for early symphonists, Bach runs his movements one into the next. At the end of the first movement, having arrived back at the opening E minor, Bach finishes by cutting again to very quiet material that moves onto the dominant of G major as a preparation for an attacca start to the second movement.
B) 1st mov. / sonata The first movement is in a more old-fashioned Ritornello form (the Baroque equivalent of a rondo) with the opening unison passage coming back in various keys throughout the movement.

Listen to the opening:

H) Drama / progr. The first movement is characterised by sudden changes of harmony, texture and dynamics (e.g. bar 26). Energetic semiquavers, dramatic diminished seventh chords and unexpected harmonic shifts are the order of the day.