Life and Times of Johann Sebastian Bach (Amazing facts about Bach)

Sebastian Bach is known to have come from a highly musical but prestigious family. Bach took up the renowned position of organist while composing famous compositions of which Fugue in D minor was part of it.
Bach is also known for his famous compositions such as BRANDENBURG CONCERTOS, MASS IN B MINOR, THE WELL-TEMPERED CLAVIER.

Inarguably, Johann Sebastian Bach is considered one of the best and greatest Western music composers.
He passed on on the 28th of July 1750in Germany (Leipzig).

Bach was born the 31st of March 1685 in Eisenach (Germany). Bach’s lineage is known to have been highly musical of which his father was not an exception. His father Ambrosius was the chief musician in Eisenach and in turn Johann Sebastian was tutored on the violin by his father Ambrosius.

Bach started studying Latin amidst other subjects while studying religious instructions and at age 10 he lost his father thereby turning an orphan when both parents passed on.
His musical journey was nearly truncated due to the death of his father (his tutor) but was salvaged by Christoph Johann who was his elder brother.

Luckily for young Bach, Christoph who also doubled as a local church organist who lived in Ohrdruf took him in and he lived with his elder brother up until he was about 15 years of age.

Bach’s soprano singing prowess landed him a place in the school of Lümberg and it was not quite long when he lost the voice and later opted to play the harpsichord coupled with the violin.

One of his greatest influences in music happened in 1703 through George Böhm who happened to be an organist. George Böhm helped Bach secure a job and his first job at that in the court of Johann Ernst (the Duke of Weimar) as a musician even though he had to play the violin and sometimes the organ.

With Bach’s rising reputation as a performer, he got a job as an organist in the Church of Arnstadt with the obligation of making music for the religious services of the church and tutoring other kids on music.

Due to his ego, he could not get along with his students and this was frowned at by his employers.

Bach left the church for months and later came back only to travel to Lübeck to listen to Dietrich Buxtehude play the organ. He extended his stay at Lüberg without any word of his whereabout at Arnstadt.

Nevertheless, in 1707, Bach left Arnstadt for a position of an organist in Mühlhausen (Church of St. Blaise).

While at Church of St Blaise, his musical style and that of the pastor collided. Bach is known to enjoy creating complex music while weaving his arrangements together in different lines of melodic contour while the pastor wanted Church music to be simple and devoid of complexity.

J. S. Bach however became the organist in Weimar at the court of Duke Wilhelm Ernst a year later.
While in the Duke’s court, Bach wrote his prominent ‘Fuge in D minor’ as well as ‘Taccata’. He also wrote cantatas some of which are ‘Heart and Mouth and Deed’ (Herz und Mind und Tat). ‘Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring’ is a popular section of the cantata.

Good news came in 1717 when Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen but Duke Wilhelm got him imprisoned when he heard he was he had accepted the proposal to move out of Wilhelm for weeks but later released him to leave for Cöthen.

At Cöthen, J. S. Bach did much of instrumental works of which included CONCERTOS for multiple instruments, dance suites etc., for Prince Leopold.

Bach was influenced greatly by his Lutheran faith and even his secular works still had a touch of the deep loyalty he had for his faith.

J. S. Bach wrote CONCERTOS in honour of the Duke of Brandenburg and in 1721, these concertos were known as ‘The Brandenburg Concertos’.

Later the same year, Bach started writing his famous ‘Well-Tempered Clavier’ which was made specifically to teach his students technicalities on the organ.

When Prince Leopold got married however, his wife never liked music and to this end, she discouraged Prince Leopold from being a lover of music and resulting to Bach losing favours from the Prince and thereafter his job.
In 1973, Prince Leopold dissolved Bach’s orchestra and Bach had to look for greener pastures elsewhere.

Another good news came for J. S. Bach when he passed his audition for the position of a teacher and an organist at St. Thomas school in Leipzig. One of the requirements of his new job was for him to at St. Thomas’s school too.

‘Passion According to st. Matthew’ is believed to have been written in 1727 and 1729 is Bach’s work about the scriptures of which he used the works to create interpretations musically.
He got better even with the vision problems he traveled to Prussia and had to write an on-the-spot composition that was performed for King Frederick the Great.
King Frederick the Great was mostly impressed when Bach made a fine-tune of the composition which was called ‘Musical Offering’.

Bach’s composition of ‘The Art of Fugue’ came to a hault in 1749 when Bach went left for eye surgery which left him completely blind and within the same year, Bach got a stroke and died on 28th of July 1750 in Leipzig.

During his lifetime, he was rather known as an organist than a composer. Nevertheless, his music was seen as a case study to newer generational composers like Amadeus Wolfgang Mozart, Van Ludwig Beethoven and the likes.

Bach is also known for invoking emotions and telling stories with his melodic and harmonic compositions.

J. S. Bach and GEORGE FREDERICK HANDEL are known as the best composers of the baroque era.

Bach got married to Maria Barbara (his cousin) in 1706. The marriage was blessed with seven kids and most of them died young.
While Bach was busy with his tours with prince Leopold in 1720, he got a message of his wife’s death. Bach moved ahead to marry Anna Magdalena Wülchen who was a prolific singer of the time. They had thirteen children and most of them passed on as infants.

 

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