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J. C. Bach


Born: 5 September 1735, Leipzig
Died: 1 January 1782, London
Type of Music: Opera, keyboard sonatas, concerto, oratorio, chamber

J.C. Bach was the 11th (and youngest) son of the legendary Johann Sebastian Bach. Of J.S. Bach's son, he was the most versatile, being the only one who wrote Italian operas. His extensive influence stretched to other later composers such as Wolfgang Mozart and C.F Abel.

J.S. Bach supervised young J.C. Bach in his early years of musical development, where a certain Johann Elias Bach (J.C. 2nd cousin) also aided his development. Being J.S. Bach favourite son, the 2nd book of the Well-Tempered Clavier was evidently written for young J.C Bach, serving the purpose of teaching young J.C. Bach.

After his father's death in 1750, J.C. Bach moved to Berlin, studying music with his half-brother Carl Philip Emmanuel Bach. In the year 1755, J.C. Bach abandoned Protestant believes and moved to Italy, becoming a Catholic later.

By 1756, he was in the house of his Milanese patron, Count Agostino Litta, and was studying counterpoint with Padre Martini in Bologna. In 1760, Bach was appointed as the 2nd organist at Milan Cathedral. It was probably then that he embraces the Roman Catholic faith. Commissioned to write the opera seria of Artaserse, it had its premier on the 26th December in 1760. However, he neglected his organ duties, which annoyed his patron Litta.

Bach traveled extensively in Italy, composing operas such as Catone in Utica, Alessandro nell'Indie. Too busy with composition that Bach abandoned his studies in Italy and left for London where opportunities for opera composition in the King Theatre. Positions were still opened (in Naples and Venice) for Bach, but he decided to abandon them and left for London in July 1762, where he made his final decision of his lifeís career.

Until 1770s, Bach found fame and was financially stable, enjoying the acquaintance of the royal family, patronage of aristocracy, and fellowship of musicians like C. F. Abel. 1st and 2nd complete stage work in London occurred in 1763 with the successful Orione, and the not as successful Zanaida. The publication of the keyboard concertos op.1 dedicated to Queen Charlotte helped strengthen his relationship with the royal family. One of Bach most published works was God Save the King.

Bach traveled to Paris in July 1763, and established an important connection which grated him privilege for the publication if his works in Paris; Londonís responds was the immediate granting of priviledged publication of his works there.

Bach met Abel in London in 1764, although they might have met when they were young as Abel was a student of J. S. Bach, and his father was a colleague of J. S. Bach. In the year 1765 saw the premier of Adriano in Siria, but met with disapproval from the public. Carattaco was more successful, but was not revived.

The Mozart family arrives under the welcome of the royal family of London, where Bach himself was there. During their stay, it was then that Mozart was influenced so greatly by J. C. Bach.

By the end of 1760s, Bach was well established and was on of the leading composers in London, being an international figure that was in much demand in terms of composition, performer and teacher.

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