Making music in a small ensemble was once the priviledge of the nobility. Throughout the patchwork of German kingdoms and duchies and the Austrian-Hungarian Empire a prince with sufficient means would keep a small ensemble and a composer to supply musical entertainment. With the rise of the bourgeoisie both to economic and political influence in the 18th and 19th century and therefore to wealth, this form of entertainment was co-opted by rich merchant and industrialist families. As amateur musicians they would play together and buy sheet music, supplying contemporary composers with an income. Chamber music in the German speaking world after the Vienna Classics era stands for the democratization of music.
The summer is not over yet? If that is so, let’s celebrate one more sunny day with one of the most beautiful double-concertos I know of. Sparks of joy, energy and vitality mark this piece, which had to be considered avant-garde at the time of its composition. In the year 1740, the Baroque era was drawing to its end and composers in the wake of Johann Sebastian Bach were bridging the gap to the Vienna classics era. One of these composers was Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach, the second son of Johann Sebastian Bach. Just like the keyboard concerto I have presented in an earlier post in July, today’s piece foreshadows the modern concertos that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven would write several decades later.
No, the summer is not over yet. Many more warm and sunny days to enjoy. And still, I feel that little nostalgia already. It sneaks into my mind at the end of August, when I get up and the sun has not yet risen. In two weeks school will start again, and by then the sun will set way too early and the air will be too cool and humid to spend the evening in the garden. Landmarks. Autumn is knocking discretely at the door.
Alone at night – I am not afraid of the thought. Alone at night – what a chance! Everything is calm, and my mind can focus on a single thought without any distraction. Curiously, a few pieces of music allow me to focus even better. They induce a kind of trance that takes me further away from the physical world and helps me propel myself into the world of abstract thinking. Frédéric Chopin’s “Nocturnes” for example. Keith Jarrett’s Cologne Concert and his album “Melody at Night”.