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Everything you ever wanted to know about Abel, Arne and JC Bach

Thu Nov 17 2011

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This Saturday at the Wiltshire Music Centre, and on Monday at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, we’re teaming up with star violnist Rachel Podger for a cocnert called 1700s London and the Fab Four. The Fab Four in question are composers all active in London in the 1700s – Haydn (who you hopefully know of!), Abel, Arne and JC Bach. Now, the last three may be a little less familiar to you. So we’ve put together a few little facts about them – and if you use Spotify you can also listen to a playlist of some of the music from the concert too.

Thomas Arne, 1710-1778

– British composer
– Composed Rule Britannia
– His version of God Save the King became the National anthem
– 1741: one of the very first composers to take legal action over musical copyright issues
– Thomas & Sally
was the first English comic opera to be sung throughout without dialogue.
– Artaxerxes
was one of the most influential English operas of the 18th century

Carl Friedrich Abel, 1723-1987

– He was principal viola da gamba and cello player in the court orchestra of JS Bach
– 1748: joined Johann Adolph Hasse’s court orchestra at Dresden at the recommendation of Bach.
– Formed famous Bach-Abel concerts.
– One of his works became famous due to a misattribution: in the 19th Century a manuscript of a symphony (no.3 in E flat. K.18) in the hand of Mozart was catalogued incorrectly in a complete edition of Mozart’s works. Only later was it discovered to be by Abel.

J C Bach, 1735-1782

– son of JS Bach
– Known as London Bach/ English Bach due to his time spent in the capital.
– Noted for influencing Mozart’s concerto style.
– Father JS Bach died when JC was 15 – perhaps suggesting why it’s difficult to find similarity between their work.
– JC’s style differs from his father’s and families: Galante style (which opposed Baroque’s intricate lines) with its balanced phrases, emphasis on fluid melody and little contrapuntal complexity. It preceded the classical style and renewed interest in counterpoint.
– The symphonies in the Work list for JC Bach in the New Grove Bach Family, listed 91 works but only half, 48, are considered authentic, the remaining 43-doubtful.
-JC Bach relatively rare in concert halls but now increasingly more recognised for its quality and significance.

2 Comments

  • Came on the site searching for J. C. Bach’s London adresses; but no soap!!!

    Oh well!

    Mike Harris Tue May 1 2012
  • Hi Mike! Early on J C B. lived on Mearde Street, Soho with Abel so I hear…

    Mike Terrett Mon Jan 28 2013