Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

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A musician cannot move others unless he too is moved.

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (8 March 171414 December 1788) was a German musician and composer.


Sourced[edit]

According to my principles, every master has his true and certain value. Praise and criticism cannot change any of that. Only the work itself praises and criticizes the master, and therefore I leave to everyone his own value.
  • More often than not, one meets technicians, nimble keyboardists by profession, who … indeed astound us with their prowess with ever touching our sensibilities .... stirring performance depends upon an alert mind which is willing to follow reasonable precepts in order to reveal the content of the compositions.
    What comprises good performance? The ability through singing or playing to make the ear conscious of the true content and affect of a composition. Any passage can be so radically changed by modifying its performance that it will be scarcely recognizable.
    • Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments [Versuch über die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen] (1753), as translated by William J. Mitchell (1949)
  • A musician cannot move others unless he too is moved. He must feel all the emotions that he hopes to arouse in his audience, for the revealing of his own humor will stimulate a like mood in the listener.
    • As quoted in Composers on Music : An Anthology of Composers' Writings from Palestrina to Copland (1956) by Sam Morgenstern, p. 60
    • Variant translation: A musician cannot move others unless he too is moved. He must of necessity feel all of the affects that he hopes to arouse in his audience, for the revealing of his own humour will stimulate a like humour in the listener. … constantly varying the passions, he will barely quiet one before he rouses another. Above all, he must discharge this office in a piece which is highly expressive by nature, whether by him or someone else. In the latter case he must make certain that he assumes the emotion which the composer intended in writing it.
      • As quoted in Così? : Sexual Politics in Mozart's Operas (1991) by Charles C. Ford, p. 46
  • According to my principles, every master has his true and certain value. Praise and criticism cannot change any of that. Only the work itself praises and criticizes the master, and therefore I leave to everyone his own value.
    • Response to a story in the European Magazine which had accused him of harshly criticizing Joseph Haydn (14 September 1785), as quoted in Haydn, A Documentary Study (1981) by Howard Chandler Robbins Landon, p. 88

External links[edit]

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