The fate of a musician in the eighteenth century was foretold. Regardless of the dimension of his art, he always remained a servant in livery, performing various and oft quite humiliating duties in the court (doorkeeper, butler). Johann Sebastian knew this perfectly well. In recognizing the extraordinary musical ability of his many sons, he often insisted that they choose law studies for instance.
He did so to protect his progeny from the insults that he had likely experienced throughout his life. Of his sons, Carl Philipp grasped the value of comprehensive education the most, and in 1738 finished his seven-year university education at the law faculty. Yet, destiny had become stronger. Carl was to become one of the most famous composers of his time. Could Johann Sebastian Bach have predicted that Mozart would once say of his son: Carl Philipp is the father, we are the children.
Carl Philipp's compositions were studied by Joseph Haydn, with Ludwig van Beethoven commenting on his works with the highest admiration. Not only his great composing talent but also his sentimental nature became the nail in the coffin containing any dreams of a legal career. In the history of music, he passed as a composer with a sentimental style (Empfindsamerkeit) characterised by a great feeling for fantasies written for the harpsichord and clavichord. His works invariably surprised by breaking musical conventions (works without bars) and improvisation. In a sense, he anticipated the profoundly expressive and emotional romantic compositions of the 19th century. Can someone like this work as a lawyer? The program of Arte dei Suonatori (w źródle jest literówka) - the famous early music orchestra, will also feature works by Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach (1732-1795, the so-called "Bückeburgian Bach"). It is undoubtedly one of the most important pieces of music by one of Johann Sebastian's sons, although many harpsichord concerts echo the works of his brother Philippe than of his father’s...
The sons of Johann Sebastian Bach formed a natural bridge between baroque and classicism. Works by Carl Philipp were even known to Joseph Haydn, another hero of the concert that appears in contemporary pop culture much less often than do the other two classical composers. Today we know much more about Ludwig van Beethoven and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart thanks to films, spectacular concerts and festivals as well as chocolates or cell phone ringtones, than about one of the most famous composers of classicism (then known as Papa Haydn). Perhaps this is because Haydn's life was devoid of scandals. As a result, Miloš Forman did not film Joseph, but rather Amadeus... Haydn once said that my language understands the whole world. Is it still so in this digital age? We will get to see during this concert of the orchestra with a European reputation - Arte dei Suonatori.
Mikołaj Rykowski PhD
Musicologist and clarinetist, doctorate, and associate at the Department Music Theory at the Paderewski Academy of Music in Poznań. Author of a book and numerous articles devoted to the phenomenon of Harmoniemusik - the 18th-century practice of brass bands. Co-author of the scripts "Speaking concerts" and author of the spoken introductions to philharmonic concerts in Szczecin, Poznań, Bydgoszcz and Łódź.