New Palace (German: Neues Palais). (Photo: Landeshauptstadt Potsdam, Michael Lüder)

Friedrich’s Residence in Potsdam

A highly productive phase began for C. P. E. Bach when he came to the Prussian court 270 years ago. Potsdam’s cultural life was gaining significance, with its Picture Gallery, the Hoboistenschule at the Great Military Orphanage, and the presence of such great composers and teachers as Quantz, Schaffrath, the Benda brothers and Graun. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach spent almost thirty years in Potsdam, developing a new, seminal style by combining his father’s teachings with the 18th century spirit of enlightenment. His individualist concertos, chamber music and symphonies set the course for the Late Baroque and provided the foundation for the First Viennese School. In 1747, his father, Johann Sebastian Bach, met Friedrich II. in Potsdam – a moment of glory as the two most extraordinary characters of their respective dynasties made an impression upon each other.

The Bachs’ oeuvres constitute a substantial part of present-day concerts in Potsdam, e.g. at Bachtage Potsdam. Nikolaisaal Potsdam, the city churches, Schlosstheater and many other palace rooms and gardens provide splendid locations for classical and modern music. Osterfesttage Potsdam will prove to be a particular highlight during the jubilee year. 2014 sees a wonderfully restored historic town centre around the old and the new markets, including Stadtschloss, the Church of St. Nicholas and Palais Barberini.