Childhood in Köthen (1717–1723)

Going His Own Way – Stations in Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s Life

The city of Köthen, reprint of the original by Merian (1650). (Source: Leipzig, Bach-Archiv Leipzig, Sign.: Graph. Slg. 2/31)

Three years later (1717) he and his family moved to Köthen, as Johann Sebastian had been appointed bandmaster there. His mother passed away in July 1720, when Carl Philipp Emanuel was seven years old. Her death was undoubtedly one of the most serious and formative moments in this early phase of his life. 

His father remarried in December, taking his fellow musician Anna Magdalena Wilcke (1701–1760) for his second wife. 

In 1723, the Bach family moved to Leipzig: Johann Sebastian succeeded Johann Kuhnaus (1666–1722) as cantor of St. Thomas, and Carl Philipp Emanuel enrolled at St. Thomas School on 14. June 1723.

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