Johann Anton Kobrich (1714 – 1791) was born in Landsberg am Lech as son of the town’s organist. When his father died in 1730 Johann Anton became his successor as organist, a post he held for 61 years until his death. Shortly after his wife died in 1782, Johann Anton Kobriech received the ordination to the priesthood. During the last years of his life he combines both the posts of organist and priest. Kobrich was a prolific composer and organist, well known to his contemporaries, but now largely forgotten. His musical output ranged from masses to string methods, and from litanies to organ preludes. Most of these were published by either Johann Jakob Lotter in Augsburg or Johann Ulrich Haffner in N\”urnberg. Kobrich published several pedagogical works as well. Much of his work was distributed widely in Middle and Eastern Europe.
Kobrich was a typical figure of the transition from the Baroque to the Galant period. The old contrapuntal style gave way to the new galant style with its melodic expressiveness, variety of motivic ideas, and free treatment of texture. Generally that led to a decline in the quality of organ composition during the eighteenth century. Kobrich is no exception to this tendency. In his organ music pedals are rarely used, and then only for long sustained notes. In his writing Kobrich shows lack of contrapuntal development, long sequences, and a variaty of motivic ideas. That does not mean that his music is unattractive or without merit. It is good music, it is just not the best music.
Kobrich’s keyboard partitas were not written with a particular instrument in mind. They can be equally well performed on organ as on harpsichord. On the title page of the original edition Kobrich writes that they were written for the pleasure of music lovers and for use of beginners in music. Since they are not really difficult and have an immediacy of appeal, they have great pedagogical value.
Kobrich, Partita V, Andante