Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was a German Classical period musician and composer, the fifth child and second (surviving) son of Johann Sebastian Bach and Maria Barbara Bach. His second name was given in honor of his godfather Georg Philipp Telemann, a friend of Emanuel’s father. Emanuel Bach was an influential composer working at a time of transition between his father’s baroque style and the classical and romantic styles that followed it. His personal approach, an expressive and often turbulent one known as empfindsamer Stil or ‘sensitive style’, applied the principles of rhetoric and drama to musical structures. Bach’s dynamism stands in deliberate contrast to the more mannered rococo style also then in vogue.
This is one of C.P.E. Bach’s most unpredictable and exciting flute concertos, the first movement in particular bolting from one mood to another in the composer’s trademark attention deficit disorder style. This Allegro molto begins in cheery agitation, zipping all over the staff before being held up by a sequence of dotted eighth notes, with a cantilena phrase briefly emerging before the impulsive opening material regains dominance. By comparison, the flute enters almost timidly and attempts several lyrical phrases that are inevitably interrupted by the orchestra.