A CHRONOLOGICAL VIEW OF WESTERN MUSIC HISTORY IN THE CONTEXT OF WORLD EVENTS

Johann Christian Bach

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September 5, 1735: Johann Christian Bach is born in Leipzig, Electorate of Saxony of the Holy Roman Empire, eleventh of 13 children born to Johann Sebastian Bach (50), musician and composer, and Anna Magdalena Wilcke, daughter of a musician.  Johann Sebastian had seven children by a previous marriage.
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March 26, 1755: Der Tod Jesu, a passion cantata by Karl Heinrich Graun (51) to words of Ramler after Princess Amalia, is performed for the first time, at the Berlin Cathedral. The continuo part is played by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (41). His brother, Johann Christian Bach (19), is in the audience.
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January 10, 1756: A letter from Giovanni Sacchi in Milan to Padre Martini (49) in Bologna indicates that both men know Johann Christian Bach (20), the earliest documentation of Bach’s presence in Italy.
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July 23, 1757: A setting of the Pater noster by Johann Christian Bach (21) is performed for the first time, in the church of San Fedele, Milan, directed by the composer.
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August 23, 1757: A setting of the Dies Irae by Johann Christian Bach (21) is performed for the first time, in Milan directed by the composer.
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June 22, 1758: Domine ad adiuvandum in D for soprano, chorus and orchestra by Johann Christian Bach (22) is performed for the first time, in Milan.
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December 26, 1758: Demofoonte, a dramma per musica by Antonio Ferradini to words of Metastasio, and containing one aria by Johann Christian Bach (23), is performed for the first time, in Milan.
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March 19, 1760: Domine ad adiuvandum in G for soprano, alto, chorus, and orchestra, and Confitebor tibi Domine for four vocal soloists, chorus and orchestra by Johann Christian Bach (24) are performed for the first time, in Milan.
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August 22, 1760: Johann Christian Bach (24) passes an audition “with distinction” to become organist of Milan Cathedral.
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September 1, 1760: An overture by Johann Christian Bach (24) is performed for the first time, in Teatro Carignano, Turin to open Gli uccellatori, a dramma giocoso mostly by Florian Leopold Gassmann (31) to words of Goldoni.
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December 26, 1760: Artaserse, an opera by Johann Christian Bach (25) to words after Metastasio, is performed for the first time, in the Teatro Regio, Turin. This will greatly enhance Bach’s reputation as a composer.
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September 8, 1761: George III, King of Great Britain and Hanover, marries Princess Charlotte Sophia, daughter of the late Duke Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, in the Chapel Royal, St. James’. Johann Christian Bach’s (26) cantata Thanks be to God Who Rules the Deep to words of Lockman is performed for the first time along with the premiere of The King Shall Rejoice by William Boyce (49). Boyce’s anthem has been given two public rehearsals already.
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November 4, 1761: Catone in Utica, an opera by Johann Christian Bach (26) to words after Metastasio, is performed for the first time, in Teatro San Carlo, Naples to celebrate the name day of King Carlo III. It is well received.
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January 20, 1762: Two works by Johann Christian Bach (26) are performed for the first time, at Teatro San Carlo, Naples to honor the birthday of King Carlos III of Spain: the opera Alessandro nell’Indie to words after Metastasio, and the Cantata a 3 voci per festiggiare il felicissimo giorno natalizio di sua Maesta cattolica, to words possibly by Passeri.
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May 27, 1762: Johann Christian Bach (26) receives a leave of absence from Milan Cathedral “for a year, beginning this July, in order to travel to England and compose two operas.”
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November 13, 1762: Johann Christian Bach (27) appears professionally in London for the first time. He directs the pasticcio Il Tutore e la Pupilla, to which he contributed.
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February 3, 1763: An overture by Johann Christian Bach (27), is performed for the first time, in the King’s Theatre, London to open La Calamita de’ Cuori, a dramma giocoso mostly by Baldassare Galuppi (56) to words after Goldoni.
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February 19, 1763: Orione, ossia Diana vendicata, a drama by Johann Christian Bach (27) to words of Bottarelli, is performed for the first time, in King’s Theatre, London, in the presence of the King and Queen. The evening is a great success. Charles Burney notes that this was “the first time that clarinets had admission in our opera orchestra.”
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March 17, 1763: Johann Christian Bach (27) publishes his first set of harpsichord concertos (op.1) dedicated to Queen Charlotte of Great Britain.
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May 7, 1763: Zanaida, an opera by Johann Christian Bach (27) to words of Bottarelli, is performed for the first time, at the King’s Theatre, London.
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July 1, 1763: Johann Christian Bach (27) writes to Padre Giovanni Battista Martini (57) in Milan that although he intended to return to Italy, he will heed the request of the King and Queen that he remain in England. Bach will shortly be named music master to the Queen.
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December 15, 1763: King George III grants Johann Christian Bach (28) a royal privilege for the publication of his works in Britain.
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December 26, 1763: L’Issipile, a pasticcio with music by several composers including Domenico Scarlatti (†6), Johann Adolf Hasse (64), Baldassare Galuppi (57), Tommaso Traetta (36), and Johann Christian Bach (28), is performed for the first time, in Teatro San Carlo, Naples.
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December 28, 1763: Milan Cathedral accounts list Johann Christian Bach’s (28) successor as organist, suggesting that Bach resigned sometime in December.
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February 1, 1764: Johann Christian Bach (28) publishes six trios op.2 in London. In the announcement he is described as Music Master to the Queen of England.
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February 29, 1764: Johann Christian Bach (28) and Carl Friedrich Abel (40) give a joint concert for the first time at the Great Room in Spring Gardens, London. The many Bach-Abel concerts will have a significant impact on the musical life of London. Bach’s serenata La Galatea for three voices and orchestra to words after Metastasio is performed for the first time.
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May 19, 1764: Wolfgang (8) and Nannerl Mozart perform before King George III and Queen Charlotte in London. The King has Wolfgang play harpsichord music of George Frideric Handel (†5), Georg Christoph Wagenseil (49), Karl Friedrich Abel (40) and Johann Christian Bach (28), which he does at sight.
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January 23, 1765: The first of the Bach-Abel subscription concerts takes place at Carlisle House, London. The performers are Johann Christian Bach (29) and Carl Friedrich Abel (41). They become known as the “Soho Subscription Concerts” and are enormously successful.
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January 26, 1765: Adriano in Siria, an opera by Johann Christian Bach (29) to words after Metastasio, is performed for the first time, in King’s Theatre, London, in the presence of King George and Queen Charlotte.
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January 31, 1765: An aria and a duet by Johann Christian Bach (29) are performed for the first time as part of Samuel Arnold’s comic opera The Maid of the Mill in Covent Garden, London.
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April 3, 1765: Publication of the Six Symphonies op.3 by Johann Christian Bach (29) is advertised in London.
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May 17, 1765: Zophilette, a pasticcio including music of Baldassare Galuppi (58), Christoph Willibald Gluck (50), Niccolò Jommelli (50), Tommaso Traetta (38), Niccolò Piccinni (37) and Johann Christian Bach (29) to words of Marmontel, is performed for the first time, in Paris.
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April 17, 1766: Publication of music by Johann Christian Bach (30) is announced in the Public Advertiser, London: Six sonates pour le clavecin ou le pianoforte...op.V. This is the first publication in Britain to contain the option of piano.
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January 29, 1767: The Fairy Favor, a masque by Johann Christian Bach (31) to words of Hull, is performed for the first time, in Covent Garden, London, in honor of the four-year-old Prince of Wales.
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February 14, 1767: Johann Christian Bach’s (31) opera Carattaco to words by Bottarelli is performed for the first time, at King’s Theatre, London.
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August 12, 1767: Johann Christian Bach (43) and Carl Friedrich Abel (43) perform at the English court for the birthday of the Prince of Wales.
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June 2, 1768: At a concert at the Thatched House Tavern in St. James’ St., London, Johann Christian Bach (32) plays a “solo on the Piano Forte.” This is one of the first times that the piano is publicly used as a solo instrument in London.
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March 22, 1770: Gioas, re di Giuda, an oratorio by Johann Christian Bach (34) to words after Metastasio, is performed for the first time, in King’s Theatre, London. The work is well received.
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April 7, 1770: Christoph Willibald Gluck’s (55) Orfeo ed Euridice opens in London with seven arias contributed by Johann Christian Bach (34).
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February 20, 1772: Symphonie Concertante in G C32 by Johann Christian Bach (36) is published in London.
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April 6, 1772: Johann Christian Bach’s (36) serenata Endimione to words after Metastasio is performed for the first time, in King’s Theatre, London.
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November 5, 1772: Temistocle, an opera by Johann Christian Bach (37) to words of Varazi after Metastasio, is performed for the first time, in a gala performance before the court in the Mannheim Hoftheater.
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May 17, 1773: Sventatura, in van mi lagno, an aria by Johann Christian Bach (37) to anonymous words, is performed for the first time, in Hickford’s Rooms, Brewer Street, London.
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July 14, 1773: Johann Christian Bach (37) appears with singer Cecilia Grassi in a concert tour stop in Blandford.
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October 7, 1773: Symphonie concertante in E flat C33a&b by Johann Christian Bach (38) is published in London.
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April 15, 1774: Amor vincitore, a serenata by Johann Christian Bach (38), is performed for the first time, in Carlisle House, Soho Square, London.
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June 28, 1774: Johann Christian Bach (38), Carl Heinrich Abel (50) and Giovanni Andrea Gallini acquire property on the corner of Hanover Street and Hanover Square, London, upon which they will build a concert hall.
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August 5, 1774: Six Quintets op.11, B70-75 for flute or violin, oboe or violin, viola, cello by Johann Christian Bach (38) are published in London.
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February 1, 1775: The Hanover Square Rooms, the newly renovated London theatre built by Johann Christian Bach (39), Carl Friedrich Abel (51) and Giovanni Andrea Gallini, is inaugurated with the first concert of a new season of the Bach-Abel series. The space will be used by concert-goers for a century.
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March 3, 1775: Symphonie Concertante in C, C43 by Johann Christian Bach (39) is performed for the first time, in the King’s Theatre in the Haymarket, London.
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July 7, 1775: Johann Christian Bach (39) and the painter Thomas Gainsborough, returning to London from Bath by coach, are set upon by two highwaymen two kilometers from Hammersmith. The thieves relieve Bach of his gold watch and chain and Gainsborough of his watch and two guineas. The robbers will be caught and condemned to death.
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November 5, 1775: Lucio Silla, an opera by Johann Christian Bach (40) to words of Verazi after De Gamerra, is performed for the first time, in the Mannheim Hoftheater. The court watches the opera in the knowledge that Duke Christian is near death. News of his end reaches them as the opera concludes.
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April 26, 1776: Cefalo e Procri, a cantata by Johann Christian Bach (40) to words possibly by Bottarelli, is performed for the first time, at the Hanover Square Rooms, London.
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May 6, 1776: Symphonie concertante in G, C45 by Johann Christian Bach (40) is performed for the first time in the Hanover Square Rooms, London.
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November 12, 1776: The syndicate of Johann Christian Bach (41), Carl Friedrich Abel (52) and Giovanni Andrea Gallini dissolves, partly because of a rival concert series. Gallini becomes the sole owner and begins renovations to the Hanover Square Rooms.
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May 20, 1777: Today is the first recorded public performance by Samuel Wesley (11), at Hickford’s Rooms, London in a concert organized by Johann Christian Bach (41).
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April 4, 1778: La Clemenza di Scipione, an opera seria by Johann Christian Bach (42) to words of an unknown author, is performed for the first time, in King’s Theatre, London.
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May 20, 1778: Rinaldo ed Armida, a cantata by Johann Christian Bach (42), is performed for the first time, in Hanover Square Rooms, London.
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August 27, 1778: Shortly after seeing Johann Christian Bach (42) in Paris for the last time, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (22) writes to his father saying “I love him (as you know) with all my heart and respect him highly; and as for him, there is no doubt that he has praised me, not only to my face, but to others also, not in an exaggerated way like some, but seriously, truly.”
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September 17, 1778: Publication of two piano duets op.15 by Johann Christian Bach (43) is announced in the Public Advertiser in London.
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April 8, 1779: A Quartet for keyboard, oboe,violin and cello B67 by Johann Christian Bach (43) is performed for the first time, in the Hanover Square Rooms, London.
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May 10, 1779: A Quartet for keyboard, oboe, violin and cello B68 by Johann Christian Bach (43) is performed for the first time, in the Hanover Square Rooms, London.
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December 14, 1779: Amadis de Gaule, a tragédie lyrique by Johann Christian Bach (44) to words of de Vismes du Valgay after Quinault, is performed for the first time, at the Paris Opéra, before Queen Marie Antoinette. It is his last complete opera, and a failure.
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May 19, 1780: Symphonie concertante in Bb, C48 by Johann Christian Bach (44) is performed, possibly for the first time, in the Tottenham Street Rooms, London.
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November 14, 1781: Johann Christian Bach (46) draws up his will in London.
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January 1, 1782: Johann Christian Bach dies at his home in Soho, London, United Kingdom, aged 46 years, three months and 27 days. As soon as news of his death gets out, creditors begin to force their way into the room where the body lies. A devoted student, Mr. Papendiek, and a coachman are only barely able to fend them off.
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January 6, 1782: The earthly remains of Johann Christian Bach are laid to rest in St. Pancras’ Churchyard, London. Neither Carl Friedrich Abel (58) nor Thomas Gainsborough are present. Only four friends attend, none of them musicians. The funeral is paid for by the Queen, but she refuses to make good Bach’s debts. (The graveyard no longer exists. A tennis court occupies the site.)
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May 27, 1782: An opera and ballet performance takes place in London for the benefit of Mrs. Johann Christian Bach, but not enough people attend to meet expenses.