Johann Christian Bach, the youngest of Johann Sebastian Bach’s sons, was an 18th Century German composer. He worked for a while in Italy and then moved to London, England in 1762. He became known as the “London Bach,” and also the “English Bach.” Bach composed cantatas, chamber music, keyboard music, symphonies, and operas. He had a great musical career first as a composer, and then as a performing musician. Johann often performed with Carl Friedrich Abel who was a viola da gamba virtuoso. The viola da gamba was a bowed stringed instrument (held between the legs while played) that was popular in Europe from the 16th to the 18th Centuries.
Here is a sonata by J.C. Bach for Keyboard with Gamba accompaniment. The keyboard instrument is a fortepiano (a copy of an early piano). The sonata is played by Michael Jarvis (Fortepiano) and Sam Stadlen (Gamba). This performance was recorded just before Sam Stadlen’s tour across Canada was cut short by the coronavirus.
Michael Jarvis (1958-2020)
Michael Jarvis was one of Canada’s finest harpsichordists, fortepianists, and organists. He performed with many of Canada’s leading orchestras and chamber ensembles all over Canada. Michael had a knack for finding rare but beautiful music and did many performances and recordings with colleagues that featured lesser known composers and their music.
Sam Stadlen is a viol player, cellist, lecturer, and musicologist from the U.K. He has performed all over Europe, the United States, Canada, and South America. In 2015 Sam became a member of the internationally known early music stringed instrument ensemble Fretwork.
James Nares was an English organist and composer. He mostly composed sacred vocal music, but he also composed some music for the organ and harpsichord. James Nares was the assistant organist at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor, worked for a time at York Minster, and then returned to the Chapel Royal in 1756 to be the organist and composer to King George III. Apparently James Nares was the first person to publish a series of keyboard lessons for piano students. Nares resigned as organist of the Chapel Royal in 1781 because of declining health. He died in 1783 at the age of 67.
Gerard Brooks (organist)
Gerard Brooks is an English organist, composer, teacher, and arranger. He teaches at the Royal Academy of Music in London, England. Gerard specializes in playing the organ music of the French Romantic period on Cavaillé-Coll organs. He has recorded the complete organ works of Saint-Saens and Eugène Gigout. In 2016 Gerard Brooks recorded an album entitled “A Giant Reborn” which was recorded on the newly restored 1735 Robert Bridge organ at Christ Church, Spitalfields. Here is a recording of James Nares Introduction and Fugue in a minor and Major played on that organ.
The Saxon State and University Library in the city of Dresden has a large collection of instrumental compositions that date from the first part of the 18th Century. Most of the music is in manuscript form. The collection is known as the Schrank II Collection. Most of the music in the collection (1750 manuscripts and several printed editions) is from Pisendel’s private library. Johann Pisendel was Germany’s most famous virtusos violinist, a member of the Hofkappelle court orchestra and student of Giuseppe Torelli and Antonio Vivaldi. Most of the pieces are violin concertos and sonatas. Most of the leading composers of the age are included in the collection, although the majority of them are Italian and German.
In 2017, violinist and early music specialist Robin Peter Müller and his orchestra, the La Folia Barockorchester recorded five violin concertos from the Schrank II collection on an album titled, “Rediscovered Treasures from Dresden.” Here are three selections from that recording. The composers of the concertos are not known. These music performances are full of energy and the music really sparkles. I hope that you enjoy this beautiful music.
Michel Corrette was a composer, publisher, teacher, organist, and writer who lived and worked during most of the 18th century. He composed music in almost every genre. In his Sonatas for Harpsichord and Violin Op. 25, the full range of the harpsichord is used. The violin (described as an accompanying instrument) is used to enhance the orchestral texture and dynamic nuance of the harpsichord. The instruments imitate each other and the interplay between the instruments is tight but very playful.
The Luchkow-Jarvis Duo was formed by Paul Luchkow and Michael Jarvis in 2007 to explore sonata repertoire for violin and keyboard from the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic periods on instruments of that time. The duo used to be based in Vancouver BC, Canada, but now they are based in Victoria BC, Canada.
Here is Michel Corrette’s Sonata No. 1 in C Major, Op. 25 for Harpsichord and Violin played by the Luchkow-Jarvis Duo. This is very joyful playful music. I hope that you enjoy it.
Here is a recording of the earliest surviving wax cylinder of Thomas Edison. This performance of G.F. Handel’s “Moses and the Children of Israel” was recorded on June 29, 1888 at the Crystal Palace in London, England. There were 500 musicians in the orchestra, around 4000 voices in the choir, and 23,722 people in the audience. You can just make out some of the choir singing. After the 1888 recording is played, you can hear a modern recording done in 2014 of the same chorus by G.F. Handel.
Unfortunately I don’t know the name of the choir and orchestra in the 1888 recording. I also don’t know who was performing in the 2014 recording. The amazing thing about the 1888 recording is that it exists. That was recorded at a time before airplanes and there were few cars at the time. Life was a lot more primitive then it is now. I hope that you enjoy this very old recording.
Vladimir Horowitz was a Russian piano virtuoso. He was known for his incredible piano technique, the special tone he produced when he played the piano, and the excitement his playing caused among his audiences during concerts. He was one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century. Horowitz was known for his interpretations of Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Schumann, and Scarlatti.
Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1759)
Domenico Scarlatti was an Italian harpsichordist and composer. He is well known today for the 555 keyboard sonatas that he wrote. Scarlatti’s first publication of keyboard pieces was 30 exercises for keyboard. These became so popular after they were published that he kept writing more keyboard pieces.
Here is a video taken from a televised performance in 1968 of Vladimir Horowitz playing two Scarlatti sonatas. The Sonata in E Major and the Sonata in G Major. I don’t know the catalogue numbers for these sonatas. I hope that you enjoy this music as much as I do.
Domenico Cimarosa was an Italian composer, violinist, and keyboard player. During his lifetime Cimarosa was known for his more than 60 operas. He also composed vocal music (oratorios, sacred pieces, secular cantatas, hymns and songs) and instrumental music (over 80 keyboard sonatas,chamber music, and other works).
Danae Kara (1953-)
Danae Kara is a Turkish pianist. She gave her debut recital in 1969 when she was 16 years old. Since then Danae Kara has performed in major venues in various European cities, Latin America, in Russia, and the former U.S.S.R.
Here is a recording of Sonata no. 11 and Sonata no. 19 by Domenico Cimarosa played by Danae Kara. The sonatas come from a recording entitled: Domenico Cimarosa – The Piano Sonatas. I hope that you enjoy this music.
Joseph Haydn was an Austrian classical composer. He worked for the Esterhazy court for over 30 years and then spent his last years in London, England. Haydn composed over 104 symphonies, 80 string quartets, about 50 piano sonatas, two famous oratorios, The Seasons, The Creation, and other works.
Here are six pieces that Haydn wrote for a musical clock. They are performed on a pipe organ by Bruno Vlahek. I hope that you enjoy these delightful little pieces.
Frederick II King of Prussia (Frederick the Great) was a German monarch, patron of the arts, flute player, and composer. Frederick had his own musical ensemble with which he would perform from time to time. He had some of the finest musicians in Europe in his ensemble. Among the famous musicians in Frederick’s ensemble were C.H. Graun (Kapellmeister and opera composer), Johann Joachim Quantz (composer and flute virtuoso), and C.P.E. Bach (his accompanist and one of J.S. Bach’s famous musical sons).
Frederick the Great composed flute sonatas, flute concertos, and several arias for C.H. Graun’s operas. He also wrote librettos for several operas including Graun’s Montezuma (1755).
Here is a recording of Frederick the Great’s Flute Concerto no.4 in D Major. Unfortunately I do not know who the flute soloist or orchestra is because the person who posted the recording on youtube neglected to mention that information.