1685-1695 Johann Sabastian Bach Born : March 21st 1685 in the town of Eisenach in Thuringia. Bach was born into a musical family . His father was the court trumpeter for the Duke of Eisenacer. His other family members held positions such as: organists, town instrumentalist and Cantors. He attended Latin Grammar School in Eisenach where he was a member of the Choir of St. Georgenkirche. The town of Eisenach is famous as the place where Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German. Bach grew up surrounded by music and faith.
1695-1700 • Sebastian’s brother Johann Christoph was an excellent teacher and started at a early age to teach him keyboard compositions. • He studied compositions by copying the music by famous composers • In 1700 he joined a choir that travelled north to Lunburg.
1700-1703 • Bach attended the North-German musical center and joined the Mattins choir. • At this center he studied a wide variety of German church music they had in there library. • He was fortunate to meet and study under Georg Bohm a old family friend who was also a famous organist. • He started playing French instrumental music on a violin. • Bach returned to his home at the age of 18 looking for work playing the organ.
http://www.baroquemusic.org/bqxjsbach.html • While waiting for a organ position he received work playing the violin in a small chamber orchestra. • This position exposed him to Italian instrumental music. • In 1703 the town invited Bach to try out a newly completed church organ. “ He so impressed the people of Arnstadt with his brillant playing at the dedication that he was immediately offered the post of organist on very favorable terms.”
1703-1707 • 1703 Bach took the position of organist and provided music for his own congregation. • 1705 Bach was granted leave to attend concerts by the famous Dietrich Buxtehude. • He spent 3 months away from the church and when he came back, he brought with him some new styles of playing. The congregation was surprised and confused. • 1706 He accepted a new position as a organist for the town of Muhlhausen.
. • 1707-1708 • 1707 He brought his cousin Maria Babara to Mulhausen and they were married October 17th 1707. • 1708 He wrote cantata “GottistmeinKoniq” to celebrate the inauguration of the town council. • His cantata was a huge success and he proposed to the council to rebuild and renovate a organ in the St. Blasivskirche. • When the council agreed Bach was made supervisor of the project. At this time he was considered a great player and an expert at organ construction.
http://www.biography.com/articles/Johann-Sebastian-Bach-9194289?part=0http://www.biography.com/articles/Johann-Sebastian-Bach-9194289?part=0 • Religious controversy arose in the town between the Lutherans and the Pietists. The Pietists were very strict and did not approve of art and music. • This controversy caused Bach to look for different employment. • 1708 the Duke of Weimer offered him a post among his court chamber musicians. • Although he had a new position the town council still allowed him to oversee the renovation of the St. Blaslukirche organ. • “ Bach’s abilities as a organist were highly respected throughout Europe during his lifetime, although he was not widely recognized as a great composer until the revival of interest and performances of his music in the first half of the 19th century.”
http://www.biography.com/articles/Johann-Sebastian-Bach-9194289?part=0http://www.biography.com/articles/Johann-Sebastian-Bach-9194289?part=0 1708-1717 • Sometime in 1709 Bach got to perform on the newly renovated St. Blasluskirche organ for its first performance. • In the court orchestra his main duties were: violin, playing the harpsichord, and occasionally writing music. • 1714 Bach became leader of the orchestra and had the court organ rebuilt at a very high expense. • “ Living as he did at a time when music was beginning to be regarded as no occupation for a gentleman, he occasionally had to stand up for his rights both as a man and a musician.”
At the court Bach made very high standing friends, scholar Johann Matthias Gesner and the former Duke’s widow. • With great interest in Italian music Bach and his cousin Johann Georg Walther transcribed some of the Italian concertos for keyboard instruments. • Family feuds broke out between the Duke and the widow’s households and Bach was past over for Capellmeister and was very disappointed.
Bach was introduced to the Court of Anhalt-Cothen and was offered the post of Capellmeister with them. • The Duke had him jailed for one month after he asked to leave his position. While jailed he wrote “Orgelbuchlein”. • 1717-1723 • When released he went to the Court of Anhalt-Cothen and became the Capellmeister. • His new master was Prince Leopold a young 25 year old man who travelled Europe and was interested in the lastest styles of music.
Prince Leopold unlike other princes liked to play the violin and harpsichord with his court musicians. Which was unheard of during this time. • The Prince had a very high opinion of Bach and asked him many times for advice. • The Prince took Bach with him on many travels. On his second visit to Carlsbad in 1720 Bach returned to find his wife had past away, leaving him a single father of 4 children. • Bach remarried Anna Magdalena a nearby court trumpeter. They were married 28 years and had 13 children.
Wanting a higher education for his children Bach left Cohen and received a invitation to produce the Brandenburg Concertos for the Margrave of Brandenburg. • Bach wanted to play the first performance of these Concertos in person in Berlin but history does not show this. • Death of Johann Kuknav Cantor of Thomasschule opened a position for Bach at Leipzig. The city offered a famous university for his chidren. • Bach was chosen for the position but was not the councils first choice. He left for Leipzig where he would remain for the rest of his life.
. • 1729-1740 • At times Bach had debated with his new council but he accomplished a lot while working with them. • Accomplishments at Leipzig: • Respected as a composer and teacher • Received official title of Court Composer to the Dresden Court • Composed 300 cantatas • Widened his musical scope of activity • His reputation spread
It is on record that the Council reprimanded Bach for pushing his teaching duties onto a juinor colleague. They were also unhappy about the lack of discipline in his choirs and his frequent trips outside Leipzig. His lack of response , enraged the council and they reduced his pay. The situation was resolved with the intervention of Gesner the headmaster at the Thomasschule. He worked to get Bach better working conditions.
Bach began to spend more time outside of Leipzig. He advised on organ building, acted as honorary Capellmeister for private residences, and tested newly completed organs. • 1733 Bach petitioned the Elector of Saxony in Dresden for an offical title. He was refused the first time but on the second request with the help from Count von Keyselingk they gave him the title of Dresden Hofcompositeur. • Bach performed a 2 hour recital for acknowledgement. • “ Bach was able to survey and bring together the principal styles, forms, and national traditions that had developed during preceding generations and, by virtue of his synthesis, enrich them all”
Music History of Leipizig • The city had the tradition of “CollegiaMusica” which were musical groups run by the university students. • Many famous musicians are linked to these groups. • The 2 most famous groups were formed by 2 celebrated composers: Georg Philipp Telemann and Johann FredrichFasch.
The music world of the city was closley tied to the local coffee shop run by Gottfried Zimmermann. • Performances were held Friday nights at the coffee shop from 6 to 8 pm or in the garden in the summer months. • 2 different types of concerts were played. Ordinaire which were standard performaces and Extraordinaire which were celebrations for special events.
1744-1750 • During the later years in Bach’s life he spent a lot of time alone and produced some of his greatest works which include: the Mass in b minor, the Canonic Variations, the Goldberg Variations and the Musical Offering. • He held several private concerts in his own home with travelling musicians. • His greatest work that shows his combined skills is known as “The Art of the Fugue” • Bach died on July 28th 1750 from stroke and severe fever. He is buried at St. Johns cemetery.
http://www.baroquemusic.org/bqxjsbach.html • http://www.passacaille.blogspot.com • http://www.bachchaconne.com • http://www.virtualsheetmusic.com • http://www.operamusicbroadcast.com http://www.biography.com/articles/Johann-Sebastian-Bach References Sited