J. Christian Bach :: Sonata A Major Opus 17 n°5
Johann Christian Bach (1735-1782) was the youngest son of J.S.Bach, and what is striking for me (having to look up his dates of birth and dead, I admit), is that he is a true contemporary of Joseph Haydn. I write this down in this short introduction to this video, since I can imagine that for many of you this cross-connection is not the first thing that comes in mind when thinking on J.Chr.Bach. More known is the influence Christian had on the younger Mozart, when both met in London in 1764/65, where they even played together in April 1764. Leopold would have suggested his son to follow the new style of Christian's compositions (which he obviously did).
I admit that I knew and know the music of Christian Bach not very good. It's thanks to a much appreciated suggestion of Michael Fuller, who suggested me to play a piece of Christian Bach, that I recorded this sonata in A Major, which I had played a few years ago. It was a pleasant renewal of contact, and moreover, the music of Bach's children keeps surprising me. Imagine a father, who walks in to the kitchen, showing a copy of his latest work, let say, the six partita's.
Of course, Christian was not born yet, but what would Friedemann and Emmanuel have thought, both working as hard as they can to reach ... yeah, to reach what actually? A level that can meet that of these partita's alone? Of the WTC, or, ... In stead , they developed a new style, and I often wonder how much of that was stimulated by father Bach? May be there are interesting things written about this, and I would be grateful to you to let me know.
Where Friedemann may be was the one that stood with one leg in each style, Emmanuel decisively went the other direction but in one way or another based on a certain tradition, with Christian's sonata's, it is hard to feel a connection to father Bach's work any more. Could this sonata be written by Haydn? Or Mozart? Apart from personality, I think so, and that says much about the leap Christian took forward. And it does say something about Haydn... because he even was three year the elder of Christian.
Interesting to see and feel how all these kind of evolutions crossed paths in the 18th century!