Notes on Bach's life.

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Life of Johann Sebastian Bach

"The aim and final reason of all music should be nothing else but

the glory of God and the refreshment of the spirit"


¡ÂƒnBach's Early period and the Weimar period ¡Â

¡ÂƒnHe lived from 1685-1750

¡ÂƒnHe was an heir to the polyphonic art of the past

¡ÂƒnHe was born in Eisenach, Germany

¡Âƒnwas left an orphan at age 10, raised by his brother

¡ÂƒnBach held posts as organist at Arnstadt (1703-7) and at Muhlhausen (1701-8)

¡Âƒnat age 23, Bach was appointed to his first important postion as a court organist and chamber musician to the Duke of Weimar

¡ÂƒnWeimar period = rise of Bach's fame as an organ virtuoso and composition

¡Âƒnhis first six children were born in this period

¡ÂƒnBach's two marriages produced at least nineteen offspring

¡ÂƒnThough, many did NOT survive infancy

¡ÂƒnFour of his sons became leading composers of the next generation

[ƒnThe Cothen Period [

[ƒnDisappointed that Weimar failed to promote him, Bach accepted Princeof Anhalt-Cohen's offer

[ƒnin his five years ar Cothen (1717-23), he produced suits, concertos, and sonatas for various instruments

[ƒnDuring this period, his wife died, and in late 1721, he married Anna Magdalena Wilcke who was a young singer at court

[ƒnShortly after, Bach's patron married a woman who didn't share the prince's love for music

[ƒnTherefore, Bach's position at court gradually declined

MƒnThe Leipzig years M

Mƒnwhen Bach was 38, he was appointed to one of the most important music position in Germany, that of cantor at St.

Thomas's Church in Leipzig

Mƒnamong the candidate were Georg Philipp Teleman (1687-1767), but he declined the offer

MƒnThe attitude of Leipzig = "Since the best man could not be obtained, lesser ones would have to be accepted"

MƒnBach did a formidable job at the St. Thomas

MƒnHe supervised the music for the city's four main churches, selected and trained their

Choristers, and wrote the music for the church services as well as for special occasions such as weddings and funerals

MƒnIn 1729, he was appointed to an additional post in Leipzig ; director of the collegiums museum, a group of university students and musicians that gave regular concerts

MƒnDuring this, Bach managed to produce truly magnificent works during his twenty seven years in Leipzig (1723-50)

NƒnBach's later life N

Nƒnhis last expedition, in 1747, was to the court of Frederick the Great at Potsdam where Bach's son Carl Philipp Emanuel served as an accompanist to the flute playing monarch

NƒnWhen he arrived, Frederick said 'Gentleman, Old Bach as arrived!'

NƒnOn Bach's invitation, the King suggested a theme, on which Bach improvised and became one of his astonishing fugues

NƒnAfter his return to Leipzig, Bach elaborated the theme, added a trio sonata, and dispatched the Musical Offspring to "a Monarch whose greatness and power, as in all the sciences of war and peace, so especially in music, everyone must admire and revere"

Nƒnlabors of life time made Bach blind

NƒnHowever, he finished his final task, the revising of 18 chorale preludes doe the organ

the dying composer dictated to a son-in-law the last of these, Before Thy Throne, My God, I Stand.