J.S. Bach’s Maverick Son: C.P.E.

C.P.E. Bach, with a portrait of his father, Johann Sebastian, behind him.

By Bradley Bambarger <2019>

It’s hard for us to picture bewigged figures of the 18th century as rebels akin to rockers or rappers, but German composer Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach — usually referred to now as “C.P.E.” Bach — made music that was just as iconoclastic in its day. His most avant-garde compositions were wildly dynamic and dramatic, bursting with the sound of surprise; his keyboard pieces and…