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Hear Papa Haydn — and Haydn's Papa

For better or worse, the nickname "Papa" stuck to the composer Joseph Haydn. But which composer did Haydn himself call "the father of us all?"

Listen to audio 54:59

Concert Hour: Schwetzingen Festival, part two

The answer to the question is CPE Bach, otherwise known as the "old Bach's" second-oldest son.

The tribute to Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach engraved on his gravestone, written by the German poet Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock, reads: "The profound master of harmony combined novelty with beauty. He was great in music set to words, and even greater in the daring, wordless art of music."

After his 300th birthday was celebrated in 2014, the music world has seen something of a CPE Bach renaissance. Unexpected turns of melody peppered with sharp dissonances, energy and power: it sounds exciting, and frequently new.  

It was Joseph Haydn who wrote, "Anyone who knows me well will see that I have much to thank Emanuel Bach for and that I have diligently studied and understood him." That is strong praise from the man who is sometimes called the inventor of the symphony.  

Conductor Sir Roger Norrington (Copyright 2012)

Conductor Sir Roger Norrington had many productive years with the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart

Every conductor has his own approach and philosophy. Roger Norrington never lets go of the fact that music should entertain and uplift. Another maestro, Konrad Junghänel, could be called the "singing conductor," in part because he's led a vocal group for many years and is now increasingly focusing on opera. He told DW how that affects his results:

"When I conduct voices, I usually sing along," he said. "You shouldn't do that of course. Sometimes I just sing internally. But I always breathe along with the music — and not only when I'm conducting vocal music. The same thing goes for a symphony. If that stays front and center in your mind — if you think of musical phrases as though they're sung — that has a big effect on the interpretation."

Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg in 2012 (picture-alliance/dpa)

One of the orchestras from Southwest German Radio, before the fusion

Joseph Haydn
Symphony No. 104 in D Major, Hob I:104, 2nd, 3rd and 4th movements 

performed by:
Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra 
Roger Norrington, conductor
from the CD Faszination music 93.011

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach 
Symphony in D Major, Wq. 183, No. 1 

Joseph Haydn 
Symphony No. 100 in G Major, Hob. I (Military) 

performed by:
Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra 
Konrad Junghänel, conductor
Recorded by Southwest German Radio (SWR) in the Rococo Theater of Schwetzingen Palace on May 13, 2017

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