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sat 27 apr 2024 10:00 hrs

Our first episode of Sanssouci is from Sanssouci! Featuring music by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. And not without reason…

If you tune into the Concertzender on Saturday 27 April at 10 am, you’ll witness a historical moment. We will then broadcast the first episode of Sanssouci, a programme dedicated to music from the Classical and Pre-Classical Period. Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, their contemporaries and their immediate examples.

Sanssouci means ‘carefree’. A feeling that much of this music radiates with verve. Western music has rarely been as cheerful and full of life as it was in those years. Sanssouci was also the palace of Prussian king Frederick the Great, a passionate music lover and employer of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, among others.

This composer is the focus of this first broadcast. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788), the second son of Johann Sebastian Bach and perhaps the most talented of them all, was immensely admired in his time, especially by other composers. Just as today’s musicians often cite Frank Zappa or Björk as influences, even though their music might not be played frequently on the radio, in those days, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach held a similar status

While other composers of his time embraced the gallant style—that is, simple, easily understandable, and aimed at the taste of many—Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach developed the sentimental or empfindsame style. He believed that composing should come from the heart, not from autopilot! As a result, his music is filled with unexpected twists and unique effects—effects that his colleagues rarely dared to use. Mozart put it this way: “Bach ist der Vater, wir sind die Buben.”

Bach’s temperament is immediately apparent in his Symphony in C, which kicks off our program. The piece barely lasts nine minutes, but he manages to pack so much into it. Right from the start, we hear polyphonic echoes of his father. In the slow section, we hear the B-A-C-H motif. Not bad for a piece that might have been intended to adorn a soirée or a tea party!

Next, we hear Bach playing his own instrument: the clavichord. He never infuses more emotion and nuance into his music than when he composes for keyboard. The connection he feels with his own instrument is evident when he writes a poignant piece about the ‘Farewell to my Silbermann Clavichord.’ Fortunately, there’s also a reunion.

Bach did not maintain his father’s style, but he did share his father’s faith. He too contributed to devotional oratorios. In Die Auferstehung und Himmelfahrt Jesu, Bach demonstrates that the new style is just as suitable for Lutheran piety. The first broadcast of this programme takes place between Easter and Ascension, the time when we celebrate that the resurrected Jesus is among us. It aligns perfectly.

Finally, we will hear a cello concerto in A major. Of all the works in this programme, this is probably the most rococo, which doesn’t mean it lacks the spark of Bach’s unique personality. You’re likely familiar with the third movement from another context—but we’re not saying from where just yet…


1. Symphony for strings in C, Wq. 182/3
– Allegro assai
– Adagio
– Allegretto
2. Abschied vom Silbermannschen Klavier, Wq. 66
3. Freude über den Ampfang des Silbermannschen Klaviers, Wq. deest
4. Die Auferstehung und Himmelfahrt Jesu, Wq. 240
– Einleitung (orchestral)
– Gott! Du wirst seine Seele (choir)
– Judäa zittert (recitative)
– Mein Geist voll Furcht und Freuden (aria)
– Triumph! Triumph! (choir)
– Freundinnen Jesu (recitative)
– Ich folge dir (aria)
– Tod! Wo ist dein Stachel? (choir)
5. Cello concerto in A, Wq. 172
– Allegro
– Largo
– Allegro assai

Kammerorchester “Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach” conducted by Hartmut Haenchen (1)
Laure Colladant, fortepiano (2, 3)
Andreas Wolf, baritone (4)
Flemish Radio Choir and Il Gardellino conducted by Bart Van Reyn (4)
Musikkollegium conducted by Jonathan Morton (5)
Pieter Wispelwey, cello (5)

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