J.C. Bach Concerto for Fortepiano and Orchestra in E flat major Op.7 No14:39

J.C. Bach Concerto for Fortepiano and Orchestra in E flat major Op.7 No.5

Johann Christian Bach was one of the first composers to write keyboard concertos. He was the youngest son of J.S. Bach. The height of his career was during his time in London from 1762-82, thus being distinguished  from his brothers as London Bach.
Around 1770, the Symphonie Concertante emerged as a genre, but the solo concerto remained popular.
Bach wrote the Concerto in E-b Major perhaps as part of a concert series from 1765-1781. A published collection of 6 concertos make up his Op. 7.

The score can be found here:,_Op.7_(W.C_55-60)_(Bach,_Johann_Christian)


The solo concertos in the 18th century were typically in three movements, where two fast movements surround a slow middle movement. Most of Bach’s mature keyboard concertos are in two movements, without a slow movement,
The first movement of this concerto has a combination of the ritornello form of the Baroque concerto and the sonata form. They were typically symphonic as the ritornellos are  for tutti and the first episode was a solo.
The orchestra presents the first ritornello and the solo enters, restates the first theme and presents a new theme following a transition, hence taking the shape of a double exposition. The remaining solo episodes make up the development and recapitulation sections similar to a sonata form. The piece remains in the tonic until the modulatory section in the solo exposition, and the new theme is presented in the dominant. Modulatory are presented mainly in solo passages.
The cadenza is presented immediately before the ritornello and closing theme.

The themes of this concerto and those of Bach are highly tuneful, with elegant figurations such as the re-ocurring set of three rising 32nd –dotted 8ths in measure 17. 


When WA Mozart began writing piano concertos in 1765, he re-arranged JC Bach’s keyboard sonatas as his early concertos. Beyond the source of paraphrases, Bach’s influence also influenced Mozart’s first original piano concerto in D major K. 175, written just 3 years later in 1773.

Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 5 in D, K22:02

Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 5 in D, K. 175 complete

Found here:,_K.175_(Mozart,_Wolfgang_Amadeus)

When comparing the first movements of the two concertos, the similarities are obvious not only in the way the two composers treat the ritornello and episodes and their adherence to the form of the genre. The length of the episodes and themes are also similar. Theme s found in both concerto are highly singable.

The main difference is that Bach’s concertos are in two movements, while Mozart’s are in in three. The choice of orchestration also differs between the two. For this particular Mozart’s concerto, it is scored for two oboes, two horns, two trumpets, timpani, and strings. The use of percussion towards the closing ritornello sections also adds to the anticipation of the solo’s entry and re-entries.


JC Bach’s contribution to the genre of the keyboard concerto is important as a source for studying the form, and as a good starting piece for the first attempts of performing concertos for pianists.
The charming the galant style of his music is a result of his time spent in Italy, where he was exposed to opera seria. JC Bach was inarguably the most cosmopolitan and varied musician among his siblings, perhaps owing to his departure from Germany to Italy, and his conversion from Lutheranism to Catholicism.


Bach, Johann Christian. 6 Keyboard Concertos, Op.7 (W.C 55-60). Score. IMSLP. Accessed April 2, 2014.,_Op.7_(W.C_55-60)_(Bach,_Johann_Christian)

"Bach Concerto for Fortepiano and Orchestra in E flat major Op.7 No.5.” Youtube Video. Posted by “ Ria Berzova”.  Uploaded Sep 12, 2012. Accessed April 5, 2014.                               

Burkholder, J. Peter, Donald Jay Grout, and Claude V. Palisca. A History of Western Music. Eighth Edition. (W.W. Norton and Company, New York, New York). 2010.

Mozart, Wolfgang  Amadeus. Piano Concerto No.5 in D major, K.175. Score. IMSLP. Accessed April 5, 2014.,_K.175_(Mozart,_Wolfgang_Amadeus)

"Piano Concerto No. 5 in D, K. 175 [complete]." Youtube Video. Posted by “Am4d3usM0z4rt ”.  Uploaded Dec 23, 2011. Accessed April 5, 2014.                                                                       

Wolff, Christoph. “Bach, Johann Christian.” Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, accesseed April 5, 2014.

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