Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach was the third of the four composing sons of Johann Sebastian Bach and Anna Magdalena Wilcken. He is also referred to as the ‘Bückeburg Bach’, since he worked some 40 years at the court of Count William of Schaumburg-Lippe in Bückeburg. In 1750 he was appointed by Count William as a chamber musician. At the moment the Italians Angelo Colonna and Giovanni Battista Sereni were active as concert master and chapel master at the court, through which Bach came to know the style of Italian cantatas and operas.
Both Italians left the court in 1756 and Bach was then appointed as concertmaster. He was not only responsible for the direction of the concerts, he also had to compose new works. This became the start of an intensive work period in which he composed chamber music, piano works, symphonies and oratorios.
When the Count, who formed the center of the cultural life at court, died in 1777, Bach went on to look for new sources of inspiration for his works. He found these during his trip to London in the early summer of 1778 that he made with his eldest son Wilhelm Friedrich Ernst. In London they visited Johann Christian Bach, who made Johann Christoph Friedrich familiar with the music of amongst others Mozart and Gluck through his concerts. These composers would continue to influence him from then on.
Johann Christoph Friedrich returned to Bückeburg, where he led the court chapel to a great reputation. He also wrote many piano works with the help of the pianoforte that he had brought with him from London.
The oeuvre of Johann Christoph Friedrich marks the transition from the Baroque to the Classical period, with works in the Baroque and galant style, and works in which both styles are combined with elements of the classical style. His works are not as well-known as those of his brothers, which is possibly due to the fact that a significant part of his oeuvre was destroyed during the Second World War.