With J.S. Bach and three of his sons, Wilhelm Friedemann, Carl Philipp Emanuel, and Johann Christian, we find a concentration of familial talent that is unique in history. The elder Bach was certainly the most accomplished member of his clan, but his offspring also attained a high level of musical achievement.
While aware of their father's greatness, the younger Bachs were more sympathetic to new musical currents. Because of that, their own compositions generally abandoned the elaborate polyphony or interweaving of musical lines, which had been their father's guiding principle, in favor of the more emotive style of the emerging Classical period. The youngest of these three sons, Johann Christian, befriended the 9-year-old Mozart and exerted a direct influence on the young composer's musical values and, consequently, on the whole flavor of Classical-period music. As a result, the two generations of Bachs were in the forefront of musical developments for most of the 18th century.
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