Bach’s son

Johann Christian Bach:

Johann Christian was the youngest son of Johann Sebastian Bach. His musical taste, melodies, and spirit are quite enjoyable in these symphonies from the 1760’s and later.

  • Symphonies Op. 6
  • Symphonies Op. 9
  • Symphonies Op. 18
  • La calamità Overture

 J.C. Bach’s use of the old three-movement symphony form is always imaginative, and features attractive scoring for solo winds and strings. Some of the slow movements are certainly instrumental arias and very beautiful.

In all these symphonies, an energetic Allegro with a bold, attention-grabbing opening gesture leads to a slow movement, and a fast final movement, often in a brisk triple time or with dancing or hunting associations.

It might have been these examples that led the eight-year-old Mozart to compose his first symphonies. Mozart often spoke well of J. C. Bach in his letters to his family. ‘I suppose you have heard that the English Bach is dead?’ he wrote to his father in April 1782. ‘What a loss to the musical world!’

Conductor David Zinman has recorded this music, in case you want to look for it.


Here is David Zinman conducting something other than this Bach; it is Elgar’s Violin Concerto with Gil Shaham and the Berliner Philharmoniker



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