The first movements of piano concertos by J.C. Bach and W.A. Mozart
Johann Christian Bach and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart have both influenced the development of classical music. Both of them formed the musical style of sonata – most of the 20th and 21th century composers still hold on to the same structure.
J.C. Bach was a son of J.S. Bach. Father influenced him a lot – he taught him the art of music since early childhood, but since he died when Johann Christian was only fifteenyears old, he started to compose is his own way.Style of music he wrote was different of his fathers – highly melodic style changed the organ music, written for the church.
W.A. Mozart was a musical genius since his early years. He was one of Viennese Classics (F.J. Haydn, W.A. Mozart and L. van Beethoven), who were the innovators of classical music genre architecture. He wrote all kinds of music, from piano concertos, sonatas and chamber music, to operas and symphonies.
- Innovation.First, let’s analyze Bach’s oeuvre. Bach was one of the innovators of sonata concerts, which became very popular among composers of the second half of the 18th century. They are characterized by three movements with major – minor – major harmonic structure, fast – slow – fast tempo structure and a “musical dialog” – the solo instrument and the orchestra alternates all the time, interacting with each other and leaving an impression of ongoing conversation. If to listen to the first movement of Concert for Piano and Strings in E-flat, the piano periodically changes orchestra.
- Effective sounding.Bach also invented “CadenzaVirtuoso” - in the end of the first movement–orchestra stops playing, leaving the soloist to play a virtuosic written out or improvised part with heavy conclusion, which usually consists three finalconsonances -ultima, penultima and antepenultima(usually ends with tonic, but dominant and subdominant chords are used frequently). Cadenza was meant to highlight the virtuosity of soloist.
- Technicality.W.A. Mozart was younger than J.C. Bach and was influenced by his work. However, Mozart brought the sonata concert to the classical perfection. His music can be described with many words –light and clean piano manner with powerful and distinct orchestra part. Orchestra and piano also interacts between themselves and the key structure is also the same – first movement in major (fast) is changed by the second movement in minor (slow), which, however is again followed by major in the same key as the first movement (fast).
- Instrumentation.Significant difference of Mozart’s concertos was refusing the harpsichord and clavichord. He started to compose sonata concertos only for piano with orchestra, as the harpsichord and clavichord were sounding weaker than piano, which was more elegant and a little bit heavier, as it can be heard in Piano concerto in A Major, K. 488 – piano line is sharp and light, like a drops of water in fountain.
Both composers were musical geniuses and innovators of their time. Concertos, written by them, hold the harmonic and tempo structure, interaction between instruments and the mood inherent to sonata concerto. Both wrote concertos in three movements. It is hard to tell which one of them composed better sonata concertos, because they both brought something fresh and unseen and, of course, both achieved excellence.