23 Oct 2016

How the 'London Bach' came to London

From The Sunday Feature, 2:00 pm on 23 October 2016
JC Bach

JC Bach Photo: Thomas Gainsborough, Public Domain

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart arrived in London on 27 April 1764. He was eight years old, and in the midst of a highly successful concert tour with his family which had already taken him to Munich and Augsburg, Frankfurt, Brussels and Paris. The arrival in London began a very special period in the life of the boy musician. The family would stay in the capital for fourteen months, and during this period young Wolfgang was transformed from a boy tinkering with musical ideas into a skilful composing craftsman.

What happened in those fourteen months is that Mozart found a composition teacher. JC Bach took the boy Mozart’s natural aptitude for music and nurtured it into something more disciplined and effective. It was Bach who gave him not only an impeccable composition technique, but also an understanding of the very latest European musical styles. On this foundation Mozart built his extraordinary career as a composer.  But what if JC Bach had not been in London at that time?