Talk:Johann Christian Bach

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Three operas?[edit]

It says that... In 1762, Bach travelled to London to première three operas at the King's Theatre, including Orione on 19 February 1763.

Other sources claim that he actually wrote two operas while at the King's Theatre. I know that Orione and Zanaida were written there, but does anyone know what could've been the third opera?

Thanks, Anonymous.


Ridiculously long list of meaningless words hidden under the words "Work List"! Oh no!

Really, to be serious, this needs to be cleaned up and the "Work List" moved to a separate page, and, keeping with Wikipedia tradition, called something like "List of works by J. C. Bach".

It's discouraging to readers (like myself!) to see an intimidatingly long list of works that are not even hyperlinked. There should be more information about musical style/aesthetic and cultural importance.



From a skimming comparison between the first version of this article, which was based on the 1911 EB, and the entry in The New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians, there doesn't appear to be any factual errors here, unlike many other articles based on the 1911 EB. I did remove this POV statement:

His works, though elegant and pleasing, were ephemeral in character and have been largely forgotten.

Other than that, my editing was a matter of expanding the article based on what I read in the Grove. Dmetric 18:58, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Mozart's 12th concerto?[edit]

Someone recently added a statement that "Mozart composed his Piano Concerto No. 12 in A Major as a tribute to Bach, his music and his importance to Mozart's own work. The Andante second movement of this concerto consists of a series of variations on a theme by Bach."

I'd like to see what that's based on. The books I've read indicate that there is a casual resemblance between the 2nd movement of K. 414's theme and one of J.C.'s overtures (which may have been intentional--or may not have been), but what was written into the article makes it sound to me like Mozart is depicted writing a formal tribute to J.C. Bach. As far as I know, that just didn't happen. Can anyone help with sourcing? Thanks. --MollyTheCat 00:46, 24 July 2005 (UTC)

Well, one thing - series of variations?? It's an abridged sonata-form/ternary-form, as Mozart uses in many of his concerto slow movements. It's not even a loose set of variations of the Elgar Enigma sense. Lacks the feel. That said, I believe most if not all of the evidence for the slow movement being a tribute to JC Bach lies in the younger composer's friendship with the older, his having remarked on hearing of JC Bach's death that it was a sad day for music, and the similarity (I'll look up the overture - written by JC Bach in 1763 for the revival of La Calamità dei Cuori by Galuppi; the first bars of its slow movement, andante grazioso, in D, this information from Girdlestone's Mozart and his Piano Concertos, Dover repub) but I gather it's fairly close, as later between the incipit of the finale of KV 526 and a theme from a work of CF Abel) between the two themes. I don't know of any stronger evidence though. Schissel : bowl listen 02:26, July 24, 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for your comments, Schissel. I have now edited this section in a way I can live with, also removing the mention of "variations" based on your comments. The last straw was looking at the New Grove Mozart and seeing:

"The main theme of the Andante quotes, not necessarily intentionally, an overture by J.C. Bach (to La calamità dei cuori, 1763, published 1770); the music's elegiac character has led to its being interpreted as an act of homage to J.C. Bach, who had lately died" (--Stanley Sadie, The New Grove Mozart, NY: Norton, 1983, ISBN 0393300846, p. 103).

Since I don't know what "source" if any the person who tossed this in used, but I do know what Stanley Sadie (a noted Mozart scholar) says is reliable, I have adapted the article text accordingly. --MollyTheCat 13:10, 20 August 2005 (UTC)

What does this mean?[edit]

I'd like to reword the following, if I could figure out what the author was trying to say:

Pop culture (in this case London musical critics and scholars) can shape history very easily. Men like Haydn deserve their great fame, but geniuses such as Johann Christian tend to suffer in the wake. The proof of this is in the concert halls across America and other countries; they are filled with the grand music of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and more, but lacking in composers like Johann Christian Bach.

I can grasp the ending, but what "pop culture" and "London musical critics and scholars" have to do with this is utterly beyond me. Anyone have any ideas?

Also, does anyone have a source for the "90" symphonies attributed to J.C. in the current state of the article? This number seems rather high. -MollyTheCat 04:28, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

The problem with the paragraph quoted above no longer exists, thanks to Adambiswanger1, who did an excellent rewrite. -MollyTheCat 16:11, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Why Catholicism?[edit]

Do we know why he converted to Catholicism? AdamBiswanger1 23:29, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure the exact reason is known. It did not happen until after J.C.'s move to Italy; I had thought I read something about it being related to his successful pursuit of the position of organist at Milan Cathedral (there were two organist positions). But on looking at The New Grove Bach Family (p. 316), I see that he was received into the Roman Catholic faith in 1757, but did not become organist till 1760. So career could have been a factor, but then again he did not switch back to Protestantism when he went to England, where it would have been to his advantage to do so. Perhaps there was something of a wish to distance himself from his father at work here (in religion as well as in musical style and delving into opera, which none of the other Bachs ever touched), but we can only speculate. --MollyTheCat 01:50, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps someday in a flurry of motivation I'll run to the library and take out some books relating to JCB and answer our questions. AdamBiswanger1 02:43, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

"90" Symphonies?[edit]

I would like to point out in the works list, the lack of inclusion of works published for harp or harp as well as keyboard in his time, that is to say, the additional instrumentation. This makes research very difficult for harpists. We have six concerti, and a Sinfonia Concertante recently published, at the least. All instrumentations should be included, even if publisher's designations, as it was the practice of the time and ever since. S.D.

Above I questioned the count of J.C. Bach's symphonies as approximately 90. I have now counted the ones in the The New Grove Bach Family work list for J.C. (symphonies on pp. 345-7), and found the following:

Number of entries for authentic symphonies: 48
Number of entries in "doubtful" classification: 43

This gives a rough total of 91, but the authentic grouping includes some duplications of symphonies published in slightly different editions or versions, and the doubtful group includes some works very unlikely to be authentic, including many symphonies attributed to various other composers.

A rewrite of the relevant passage of the article is therefore in order, but the reference is entangled with a lot of stuff comparing J.C.'s symphonies to Joseph Haydn's on the basis of how many symphonies each wrote. Most of these comparisons probably should be tossed as they are now seen to be bogus (since 90 authentic symphonies by J.C. do not exist), but maybe someone can think of a way to rewrite this that would keep what is really informational and edit out what is not. -MollyTheCat 09:47, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

I have now done a thorough rewrite of the so-called "Acclamation" section, renaming it "J.C. Bach and the Symphony" and revamping it considerably. I had to throw out a lot of the bogus comparisons to Haydn since they don't hold water, and give a rough idea of how their comparative symphonies are different. I welcome comments and further improvements. -MollyTheCat 09:32, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Galant music and J. C. Bach[edit]

J. C. Bach was not a typical galant composer and, I think, his style should not be evaluated by reverting to that of galant music in general- his music contains not only delicacy and clear lines but also drama (in his chamber works more often than his orchestral, that I've found- at least one oboe quartet, a two-piano work, for example, in their first movements more than their more typical minuet finales. And of course his C minor keyboard sonatas- from opp. 5 and 17- are famous attempts to combine styles- as was attempted often, it's true- before Mozart did so much more successfully and with fewer seams.) Schissel | Sound the Note! 18:27, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Schissel, your point is well taken. Since the article originated in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica's entry for J.C. Bach, it's possible that some of the outdated appraisals that you note are hold-overs from that source. As shown in my edit noted in the "'90' Symphonies?" topic above, this article continues to benefit from rewrites.-MollyTheCat 09:32, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

From queen's music master to pauper[edit]

Can someone add what happened to JCB's fortunes that he ended up a pauper? The article jumps from queen's music master to burial in a pauper's grave. thanks. Delmlsfan 03:16, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Music Festival?[edit]

The article doesn't mention the festival J.C. Bach started. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:37, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

The Bach-Abel concerts? Schissel | Sound the Note! 07:58, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Symphony op. 18/2?[edit]

One of the more often-recorded symphonies, the double-orchestra symphony opus 18/2 in B-flat major, is not listed. True, opus 18 no. 2 is also given to a violin sonata- that's one of the main reason why one uses catalog numbers, not opus numbers, when one can; I don't know the WCno. of the symphony, or its history, such information not being common knowledge for JC Bach as it often is for better-known composers by now (consider hithis problem when it arises with opus nos. & Pa. nos. for Krommer!) ... - but is the symphony there in fact, just somewhere "else"? Schissel | Sound the Note! 07:58, 2 January 2009 (UTC) (Oh- that's the Adriano in Siria ov., isn't it...) poop scoop go up the scoop HI

Wrong Picture Credits[edit]

The credit given for the portrait is wrong. It is not in the Museo Civico, Bologna as stated. In fact, that 1776 portrait of JC by Thomas Gainsborough is hanging in Room 12 at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Its catalogue number is NPG 5557. You can see it here

Prustage (talk) 12:44, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

The confusion stems from these two images:
  1. Johann Christian Bach.jpeg File:Johann Christian Bach.jpeg turns right, looks left, Museo Civico
  2. Johann Christian Bach by Thomas Gainsborough.jpg File:Johann Christian Bach by Thomas Gainsborough.jpg turns left, looks right, National Portrait Gallery
It seems to me that the source information on #1 is wrong and that that image has been flipped. If so, that should be noted at Commons. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 05:25, 21 February 2013 (UTC)

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