CPE Bach. Die Auferstehung und Himmelfahrt Jesu

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Radical, daring and extremely refined: that’s how C. P. E. Bach saw his new path for the Oratorio, after his father’s Passions had marked the climax of the baroque era. Encouraged by his godfather Telemann and liberated from the yoke of the capricious Frederick of Prussia, he found himself in Hamburg with an audience hungry for new music. And he brought them his oratorios, no longer in churches but in concert halls, where he demanded the listener’s undivided attention for sudden changes of mood and colour.

Die Auferstehung und Himmelfahrt Jesu did indeed leave its traces: both Haydn and Beethoven showed great interest after a series of three performances conducted by Mozart in Vienna. Not only did it pave the way for Haydn’s oratorios, but there are also clear influences on the Pamina arias in Die Zauberflöte written a few years later. C. P. E. Bach wrote to his publisher Breitkopf, “I think this is the best work I have ever written.”

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