Johann Sebastian Bach

Essay by julianA-, March 2003

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Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach, on the 21st of March 1685.

In March of 1700 Bach won a singing scholarship to the Michaeliskirche in Luneburg. When his voice broke, he continued to make music as a violinist and organist and its said that he studied with Georg Bohm another well known organist and composer. In the summer of 1702 Bach left Luneburg and applied for a post as organist of the Jacobskirche, Sangerhausen. In November he won his vacancy, but the duke of Sachan-Weissenfels intervenes and imposes an elder man, (Bach was only 17).

In March of 1703 Bach went to work for duke Johann Ernst of Weimar as a liveried string player. He did not like his post, so he left as soon as possible. Then in September he became an organist in Arnstadt.

Bach felt that he had a true vocation for church music.

He made a pilgrimage to Lubeck, via Luneburg, Sangerhausen, Weimar, and Arnstadt, and one might see his appointment in Leipzig as the culmination of years working towards his goal. Unfortunately, his creative genius was constantly at war with the mundane demands of his various posts, and though he was known as a "virtuoso" organist, his employers never appreciated his profound musical ability.

In Easter of 1707, Bach played the organ at the Basilkirche in Muhlerhausen, and impressed the authorities so much that he was offered a place as organist, which was vacant since the death of Johann Georg Ahle.

On the 4th February, Bach wrote his first real commission, a Cantata to mark the elections to the town council of Muhlerhausen and entered the services of the duke of Sachsan-Weimar as court organist. In august 1717, Bach's wife and four children were installed in Cothen, where the composer...