J. C. Bach Sonata for Keyboard with Gamba Accompaniment – Michael Jarvis: Fortepiano; Sam Stadlen: Gamba

J. C. Bach (1735-1782)

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

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.

Dussek- piano sonata no.24 op.61 f sharp minor

Jan Ladislav Dussek (1760-1812)

Jan Ladislav Dussek was a Bohemian pianist and composer.  He composed over 40 piano sonatas, 12 piano concertos, some lighter piano pieces, harp music, and chamber music (most chamber music works of his include the piano).  Dussek also wrote a keyboard method.  His early compositions are written in a classical style.  Dussek’s later compositions after 1790 are romantic in style and anticipate Schubert, Chopin, and other composers.  His later works are especially virtuosic.

Here is a recording of Dussek’s Piano Sonata no.24, op.61 in f sharp minor.  The piece is in three movements.  It is played on a fortepiano (an early piano).  This piece is written in a romantic style.  Notice all of the emotional turmoil (sudden loud outbursts, surprising modulations, and the use of distant keys).  The key of the piece is  f sharp minor which was not used much in Dussek’s time.  The second movement of the piece is in G Flat Major which is a key not used much back in Dussek’s time.  In the final movement the piece modulates from f sharp minor to F Sharp Major which is unusual.  Enjoy!

Dussek: Piano Sonata (first movement)

Dussek: Piano Sonata (end of first movement and 2nd movement)

Dussek: Piano Sonata (third movement)