Mozart’s Hero

JC Bach, Mozart, and the Square Piano

David Owen Norris (Ganer Square Piano of 1781)

JC Bach (1735-1782)
WA Mozart (1756-1791)

Mozart met Old Bach’s youngest son in London in 1764, aged 8, and fell under his spell, sitting on his knee to play piano duets. Mozart so much admired JC Bach’s music that in 1772 he arranged some of his Piano Sonatas as Concertos for his own performance. They met again in Paris in 1778, where Mozart was in the middle of a disastrous tour. His more famous friend set himself to cheer the young man up, and in doing so made his second important contribution to Mozart’s compositional style – he introduced him to the English Square Piano, whose influence can be heard in Mozart’s great A minor Piano Sonata. Mozart remained ever grateful to his friend. When he heard of his death he wrote in a letter to his father: ‘A sad day for music’. As a tribute he included a melody of Bach’s in his next Piano Concerto, K.414.

David Owen Norris will talk about the piano and the programme, which will include:

JC Bach: Piano Sonatas
from Op.5 (London, c.1768) and Op.17 (London, c.1778)
(JC Bach was probably the first person ever to play a piano in a public concert).

Mozart: Pieces from the London Sketchbook (1764)
Piano Sonata in A minor K.310 (Paris,1778)
Variations on ‘Ah! vous dirai-je maman?’ (Paris, 1778)

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