Bach, J. C.: Non sò d’onde viene, 2 versions for soprano or tenor and orchestra




Version 1: 220(1)/2000 strings   Version 2: 020(1)/2000 strings

Mozart loved Johann Christian Bach and his music, ever since he sat on Bach’s lap and played duets with him as a boy on his trip to London. When Bach died Mozart paid his respects by including a tune of Bach’s [from the overture to La Calamita de’Cuori (The Magnet of the Hearts)] in the slow movement of his piano concerto K 414. Mozart knew Bach’s setting of Metastasio’s “Non sò d’onde viene” and commented in a letter to his father in 1778:

“I have set to music the aria “Non sò d’onde viene,” which has been so beautifully composed by Bach. Just because I know Bach’s setting so well and like it so much, and because it is always ringing in my ears, I wished to try and see whether in spite of all this I could not write an aria totally unlike his. And indeed, mine does not resemble his in the very least.”

Both composed two settings of “Non sò d’onde viene”. Mozart wrote two completely different versions, K 294 for Soprano and K512 for Bass. Bach, on the other hand, wrote two versions, one in ‘Alessandro’ (1762) and the other in ‘Ezio’ (1764) in which the first section is the same in each case [although the orchestration and articulation are substantially different] whilst the middle section is completely different even using a different text. The text of Mozart’s 2 versions is the same as that of Bach’s version in Alessandro so we may assume that was the version Mozart was familiar with. A further fascinating fact is that Bach wrote his version in Alessandro for the famous tenor Anton Raaf for whom Mozart started K 294 but changed it to a soprano aria during the composition process.

Full score £10

Set of parts wind and strings (33221) £60

Extra string parts £4

Additional information


Extra basso part, Extra viola part, Extra vln 1 part, Extra vln 2 part, Score, Set of parts


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