J C Bach - Six Sonatas, Op.17
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Label: Brilliant Classics
Cat No: 94661
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 24th February 2014
The genius of Johann Sebastian Bach often overshadows the achievements of his four prodigiously talented sons, all of whom played a crucial role in further advancing music's development during the 18th century. Johann Christian, the youngest, was indeed among the most pivotal composers of his day, his move to Italy in 1755 precipitating a noticeable change in style that, known as the galant, looked forward to the soon-to-emerge Classical period.
J C Bach was the first to champion the fortepiano in concert, and by the time he came to write his Six Sonatas Op.17 - the subject of this engaging release - the instrument was well on its way to dominance. Following on from the Six Sonatas Op.5, the works reveal the composer's multifaceted skills, displaying the widest possible range of compositional manners and characters - from the symphonic and declamatory opening Allegro of Sonata No.1 in G to the epic scope of No.6 in C minor (which conforms to the pathos and sadness associated with its key).
One of J.C. Bach's many admirers was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and it is highly likely that these works were among those played to the young prodigy when he visited London in the 1760s, where the German composer was then living. They comprise a set truly befitting of a composer who would later became music master to the English royal family, revealing how, in the realm of keyboard virtuosity, J C Bach was every bit his father's son.
Given J C Bach's influence on Mozart, it should come as little surprise that the sonatas of Op.17 are almost stylistically interchangeable with those of the Salzburg genius - anyone who delights in the latter's keyboard sonatas is sure to be won over by these charming works.
At hand to perform is one of today's leading fortepianists, Bart van Oort, whose consummate performances give voice to a composer who played an instrumental role in bringing the fortepiano to public attention.
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