Wilhelm Friedemann Bach’s clavier fantasies: A creative dialogue with the father
W.F. Bach was greatly influenced by the personality and style of his great father — Johann Sebastian Bach. As the first teacher of clavier and composition, his father remained Friedemann’s main mentor throughout his life. For him, his father’s music was the highest artistic reference point. W.F. Bach’s woks have numerous quotations and allusions to J. S. Bach’s compositions. These borrowings did not go unnoticed by the composers’ contemporaries. According to the musicologist T. Frumkis, the composer was following his father’s footsteps as a slave. At the same time, an 18th century music theorist F.W. Marpurg in his Legende Einiger Musikheiligen reported on Friedemann’s cases of plagiarism. However, it seems that in most cases such quotes in Friedman’s music do not indicate the lack of one’s own imagination or attempts of blind copying. They are more about an original creative reinterpretation of the borrowed material.
The article explores the series of W. F. Bach’s polyaffective (the term by Y. S. Bocharov) clavier fantasies: F. 16, F. 18, F. 19 and F. 21. They are marked by the biggest number of citations from J. S. Bach’s music. These compositions, to some extent, can be considered as free “fantasia on themes” originally written by Sebastian Bach. The borrowings manifest themselves in motifs, phrases, textured drawings, development techniques, and even compositional principles. At the same time, the quotations are surrounded by W. F. Bach’s original compositional material and placed in new structural conditions. This creates the conditions for creative dialogues with J. S. Bach. They are of different quality and emotional mood and range from a heart-to-heart talk to a heated debate.Ivanov Article 2021-2