Tonight’s programme is dedicated to the music of the Bach family. Of the total of 20 children the Thomaskantor Johann Sebastian Bach had, four sons followed in their father’s footsteps and became influential composers in their own right. They learned their craft from their father, and traces of this can be found again and again in their compositions. Over time, however, they freed themselves and followed their own stylistic paths. Sometimes, to a greater or lesser extent, you can hear in their works the galant style that was advancing from Italy to Germany. Alongside works by their father, this concert features cantatas and instrumental pieces by the composing Bach sons, with the exception of the eldest Wilhelm Friedemann and the youngest Johann Christian, who was separated from his brother by an age difference of 25 years.
The best-known work is undoubtedly Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantata “Ich habe genug”. The middle aria “Schlummert ein, ihr matten Augen” is not just one of the most beautiful Bach ever wrote – the poised weariness of the opening aria and the dark ecstasy of the ending are also particularly striking. The second eldest son, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, composed his cantata “Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Stande” immediately after leaving his parents’ home. The Symphony in E-flat major, which is full of unusual ideas, was probably also written by him. For Johann Christoph Friedrich, 20 years his junior, his father was already a man of yesteryear. His cantata Pygmalion is a masterpiece of the Sensitive style. The plot: Pygmalion falls in love with the statue he has created, which is brought to life by Venus. His Symphony in D minor, on the other hand, comes from an early creative phase and still shows influences of Neapolitan opera.