Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach biography
Elias Gottlob Haussmann / Public Domain

Johann Sebastian Bach biography

Johann Sebastian Bach (March 21, 1685 – July 28, 1750). German composer. He was born in Eisenach, now Germany. Bach was born into a lineage of musicians and interpreters very influential in German music from 1561. His father Johann Ambrosius, trumpeter of the court of Eisenach. On the death of his father in 1695, he was under the care of his older brother, Johann Christoph, at that time was organist of the church of San Miguel de Ohrdruf. His care allowed little Bach to interfere quickly with instruments such as the keyboard, the organ and the key, of which he would be an accomplished interpreter throughout his life. His curiosity and love for music were reflected in the long walks he made for all the holidays to go to Hamburg to listen to the great Dutch organist Reinken. Bach did not lose the opportunity to attend any concert that was presented. In this way, he met great music performers and composers

In 1700, he began to work as a member of the choir of St. Michael’s Church, in Lüneburg, years later he was the violinist of the chamber orchestra of Prince Johann Ernst of Weimar. In his labors, he was recognized for his discipline and taste for perfection. He studied with Dietrich Buxtehude, a Danish organist, and composer living in Germany. The two established a good relationship quickly. After finishing his studies and sharing the stage with his great friend, he had to return to Weimar to work in the court of Duke Wilhelm Ernst as organist and violinist. His training culminated in the convent of San Miguel de Lüneburg, where he studied with pleasure great exponents of music such as Heinrich Schütz.

In 1707 he married Maria Bárbara Bach, his cousin in second grade, great soprano singer, and with her, he moved to Mulhouse, where he worked as an organist in the church of San Blas. At this time, another important event arose in his life, he decided to start his career as a composer and performer. For his fortune thanks to his previous recognition and admirable career, he was well received, exercising his new art project in cities such as Arnstadt, Mühlhausen, Weimar, Köthen, and Leipzig.

“Live as you would do to not be embarrassed in the event that what you do is disclosed, even if it is a lie that is disclosed.” Johann Sebastian Bach

Although it is true, in the city of Mühlhausen, the realization of his project did not have much reception because they were in opposition to certain estates of the city. On the contrary, in Weimar, he found the right conditions for the development of his talent. Bach focused his work in this city especially in the creation of pieces for organ and composition of important cantatas.

In 1717 Johann Sebastian Bach left his position in Weimar after being appointed the chapel master of the court of Prince Leopold of Anhalt, in Köthen, one of the most fertile periods in the life of the composer. In this stage he developed the two violin concerts, the six concerts of Brandenburg, he wrote the first book the well-tempered key, the six sonatas and partitas for solo violin and the six suites for cello solo. Also, it is possible to emphasize his more extraordinary choral works, like his two passions, the monumental Misa in B minor and the Christmas Oratory. During his career, he not only devoted himself to playing instruments, but he knew how to refine them, build them and even invent them. Thus, he contributed to the evolution of the keyboard, including for the first time, in fingering, the use of the thumbs.

After the death of his wife Maria Bárbara Bach, with whom he had 7 children, Anna Magdalena Wilcken, singer and daughter of a court musician, succeeded her in the coming year, with her having 13 children, of whom they were attracted by the music and they were great composers: Wilhelm Friedemann, Carl Philip Emanuel, Johann Christoph Friedrich, and Johann Christian. Thus, with so many musical skills under one roof, Bach’s house was a true hall for family events, music, and concerts. In Leipzig, the city where they lived, they were well known for being a family with great musical skills and givers of great musical events.

The musical production of Johann Sebastian Bach fell considerably due to a cataract problem that left him practically blind. Died in Leipzig on July 28, 1750, as a result of a failed eye operation.

The teacher Bach is considered one of the most important musicians and composers of the time, his relevance gave him to be named in 1736 honorary count of the Duke of Wissenfals, and composer of the court of the King of Poland and Elector of Saxony. Although certainly at the beginning of his illness fell into relative oblivion. Years after his death, greats such as Mozart or Beethoven regained their value by reflecting on the romantic generation, since then the work of Johann Sebastian Bach occupies a privileged position in the repertoire.

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