Home » Uncategorized » Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach and his Concerto for Harpsichord and Orchestra in EM

Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach and his Concerto for Harpsichord and Orchestra in EM

JCFBach
Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach (June 21, 1732–January 26, 1795), was the ninth son of Johann Sebastian Bach and is sometimes referred to as the “Bückeburg Bach.” Born in Leipzig in the Electorate of Saxony, he was taught music by his father, and also tutored by his distant cousin Johann Elias Bach. He studied at the St. Thomas School, and some believe he studied law at the university there, but there is no record of that. In 1750, William, Count of Schaumburg-Lippe appointed Johann Christoph harpsichordist at Bückeburg, and in 1759, he became concertmaster. While there, Bach collaborated with Johann Gottfried Herder, who provided the texts for six vocal works; the music survives for only four of these.

J. C. F. Bach married the singer Lucia Elisabeth Münchhausen (1728–1803) in 1755, and the Count stood as godfather to his son Wilhelm Friedrich Ernst Bach. Bach educated his son in music as his own father had, and Wilhelm Friedrich Ernst went on to become music director to Frederick William II of Prussia. In April of 1778 he and Wilhelm travelled to England to visit Johann Christian Bach. J. C. F. wrote keyboard sonatas; chamber music; orchestral works such as twenty symphonies, the later ones influenced by Haydn and Mozart, keyboard concertos, a concerto grosso, and two double concertos; and nearly every genre of vocal music such as oratorios, liturgical choir pieces, motets, operas, and songs. Because of Count Wilhelm’s predilection for Italian music, Bach had to adapt his style accordingly, but he retained stylistic traits of the music of his father and of his brother, C. P. E. Bach. J. C. F. Bach died 1795 in Bückeburg, aged 62.

The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica says of Johann Christian Friedrich Bach, “He was an industrious composer, … whose work reflects no discredit on the family name.” He was an outstanding virtuoso of the keyboard, with a reasonably wide repertory of surviving works. A significant portion of J. C. F. Bach’s output was lost in the WWII destruction of the Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung in Berlin, where the scores had been on deposit since 1917. Musicologist Hansdieter Wohlfahrth catalogued his works. He was a transitional figure in the mold of his half-brother C. P. E., his brother Johann Christian, with some works in the style of the high Baroque, some in a galant idiom, and still others which combine elements of the two, along with traits of the nascent classical style.

My collection contains one work by J. C. F. Bach:

(Keyboard) Concerto for Harpsichord and Orchestra in EM, BR C37 (Wf II:1)

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