We’re going to go Bach versus Bach here in the second match of Germany’s World Cup of Composers: Johann Sebastian Bach (papa Bach) versus his son, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach.
CPE Bach was a classical composer as opposed to the baroque style of his father. For a time CPE Bach was highly regarded by composers such as Mozart and Beethoven. It was on the keyboard that C.P.E. Bach specifically excelled.
2014 is the 300th anniversary of CPE Bach’s birth and it will be celebrated here and there. However, birthday or not, C.P.E. Bach will not see the next round as J.S. Bach advances easily.
The next match is the number three seeded Wagner versus Meyerbeer, but that one will have to wait for now.
Instead, we’ll skip to the number-four-seeded Brahms versus number 13 Heinrich Schutz.
Brahms is kind of the Duke Basketball of this tournament. He’s consistently excellent but some people detest him because he’s so bourgeois.
Heinrich Schutz, on the other hand, is from a much different day and age. His era was pre-Bach (P.B.) and he is considered to be the kingpin of P.B. Germany.
Schutz was posted at the court in Dresden from about 1615 until his death in 1672. Of course, the Thirty Years’ War interrupted his work there and Schutz took work in Copenhagen, and also visited Venice where he may have studied with Claudio Monteverdi.
Schutz’s early works were on a grand Venetian scale, Venice being possibly the most affluent empire in Europe at the time. After the Thirty Years’ War there were not enough resources to support the “big event” music and Schutz’s style became leaner and more austere.
His late setting of the seven last words of Christ are among his best compositions and perhaps demonstrate that sometimes less is more.
Brahms, like Duke, is probably bound for at least the German final four and Schutz is out in the first round.