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Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach (1732-1795)
“Il virtuoso sconosciuto”
J. Ch. F. Bach
Sonata V in A (6 Leichte Sonaten, ca. 1783)
Allegretto – Larghetto – Rondo Allegretto
Presto – Angloise in G (Mus. Nebenstunden, 1787)
Fuga in F
Sonata III in F (6 Leichte Sonaten, 1785)
Allegro moderato – Larghetto cantabile – Tempo di Minuetto
Sonatina in a (Mus. Nebenstunden, 1787)
Solfeggio in D (Mus. Nebenstunden, 1787)
Sonata I in D (3 Sonatas, Rinteln ca. 1789)
Allegro con spirito – Larghetto sostenuto – Rondo
JERMAINE SPROSSE, fortepiano
About The Unknown Virtuoso
Nowadays hardly known or performed in concert life, the keyboard works by J. S. Bach´s son Johann Christoph Friedrich need a rediscovery, above all however they need to be performed and thus brought back to life and to the ears and into the hearts of an audience. Hence it is a pleasure to me, to introduce the composer and his keyboard music by this small choice of remarkable compositions, mainly focusing on a hand full of highly intriguing sonatas and pieces from Bach’s later creative period (ca. 1780-90). It is undoubtable that J. C. F. Bach – as many of his contemporaries – was strongly influenced by his elder brother C. P. E. Bach and the latter‘s musical style. Nevertheless, the sonatas chosen for this recital deserve as well an open mind as open ears and will most certainly strike the listeners with their wit, charm and richness of thoughts, as well as a high degree of vitality and freshness combined with emotional depth and maturity.
One remark seems particularly important, regarding the general nature of the sonatas: While the first two sonatas in A and F Major belong to a triplet respectively a sextet of sonatas composed for talented amateurs (leichte Sonaten=Easy Sonatas) and printed for sale during J.C.F. Bach’s lifetime, the third sonata in this programme takes place among a small group of unpublished sonatas, written by the composer for himself or eventually for highly advanced pupils if not professionals trained by the master himself, such as his own son Wilhelm Friedrich Ernst Bach (1759 – 1845). The usual lightness and tenderness of Bach’s keyboard writing makes way for a technically more demanding, powerful and highly dramatic style that is clearly based on an advanced type of symphonic thinking, applied to the Fortepiano. Instead of a typical early-classical easy-going Rondo ending the sonata, Bach puts a contrapuntally raffined third movement (A-A’-B-B’-structure), that reminds of the tricky, sometimes even slightly uncomfortable writing of his eldest brother Wilhelm Friedemann and differs strongly from anything he usually puts at the end of his sonatas. If evidence was needed, that a Rondo at the end of a keyboard sonata has mainly been a fashionable movement for lightly skilled amateur performers (the “target group”, commercially spoken) than the choice of a composer finishing a Grand Sonata dedicated to a professional (alias himself), this one here may well serve therefore.
Harpsichord | Clavichord | Fortepiano
Jermaine Sprout is an immensely charismatic musician: spontaneous, rousing and full of Energy. The instrumentalist is considered to be one of the outstanding interpreters of the music of C.P.E. Bach and his stylistic environment. Concert engagements as soloist lead him to venues such as Festival KlangBasel, Bach Festival Schaffhausen, Mendelssohn Musik Woche Wengen (CH), Festival de Musique Improvisée de Lausanne, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Swiss Clavichord Days, Davos Festival, Festival Viel Klang, Thüringer Bachwochen and of course to the wonderful Concerti di Campagna near Rome.
As continuist and soloist he regularly performs with Freitagsakademie Bern, Zürcher Kammerorchester, Ensemble symphonique de Neuchatel. Both his solo recordings The Kings Men (CPE Bach, Nichelmann Fasch) and Friedrich Wilhelm Rust – The keyboard poet (SONY, 2017) were received with enthusiasm by the press and led to various engagements in the form of concerts and radio broadcasts.
Being an alumnus with distinction of the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in keyboards, improvisation and music pedagogy, Jermaine lives in Basel, where he holds a position as main organist and teaches at the conservatory, as well as privately. He can count on a remarkable number of
Internationally important competitive successes. Among the most prestigious
Ones is a First prize at the Concorso Internazionale di Musica Anatica In Genova and the second
Price at the international Tim Competition in Paris.