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Johaan Sebastian Bach

By: Ashley Hicks

Johaan Sebastian Bach

Brief History of Bach

Born and died in Germany. Worked as a organist, teacher, and composer. He married twice and had 20 children of which 10 died in infancy. Died at the age of 65.

Bachs Childhood
Born on March 21, 1685 in Germany. Youngest of eight children. Father is Johann Ambrosius Bach. Mother is Maria Elisabetha. His mother and father died within a year of eachother and he was orphaned at age 10.

Bachs Early Career

Bachs earliest career began in 1703. This career involved playing violin and organ at a low-level position in the ruling court of Weimar and Neukirche, Arnstadt.

Bachs First Marriage

Bachs First Marriage

In October 1707 Bach married his cousin Maria Barbara. In the years after this marriage the two would have seven children together.

Bachs Life In Saxe-Weimar

In 1708 Bach was appointed organist and chamber musician to the Duke of SaxeWeimar. In the next nine years Bach composed his some of his best works and became known as a fine organist. Bachs major works in this time included Toccata and Fugue in D minor (1705), Cantata (1713) and The Little Organ Book (1714).

Kapellmeister at Anhalt-Cothen
In 1717 Bach became Kappelmeister (the chapel master who directed and/or composed music for a church or chapel) in the court of the music-lover Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cothen. During this time Bachs works included Brandenburg Concertos (1721) and The Well-Tempered Clavier (first book, 1722).

Bachs Second Marriage

Bachs Second Marriage

Bachs first wife Maria died in 1720. In 1721 Bach married Anna Magdalena Wilcke (the daughter of the town trumpeter). They would have thirteen children together.

Bachs Children
After Bach marries Anna, the two have thirteen more children. Bach has 20 children between his two wives but 10 died in infancy. Four of his children went on to become well-known composers and musicians.

Bachs Well-known Children

Three of the four of Bachs children that went on to become well-known composers and musicians are Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (sons of Maria) and Johann Christian Bach (son of Anna).

Life in Leipzig
Bach left Anhalt-Cothen in 1723 for Leipzig. He became Kantor (teacher and director of music) at St. Thomass in Leipzig. Bach remained in Leipzig for the rest of his life.

Bachs Works in Leipzig

Bachs works in his time in Leipzig include St. Johns Passion (1723), St. Matthews Passion (1727), Suite No. 3 in D (1729), Magnificat in D Major (1731), Christmas Oratorio (1734), Italian Concerto (1735), Goldberg Variations (1741-1742, originally called "Aria With Diverse Variations," but later nicknamed after Bach's student Johann Gottlieb Goldberg), The Well-Tempered Clavier (second book, 1742), the Musical Offering (1747), and The Art of the Fugue (unfinished, 1749).

Bachs Life Before His Death

By 1740 Bachs eyesight was failing. Bach had two eye operations but, they resulted in Bachs complete blindness. These operations may also have damaged his health and hastened his death.

Bachs Death
Johaan Sebastian Bach died of a stroke on July 28, 1750 at the age of 65. Bach is buried at the St. Johns cemetery in Leipzig. Bachs widow Anna lived for another ten years before dying in poverty in 1760. Bachs death marks the end of the Baroque period of music.

The Rediscovery of Bachs Work

When Bach died most of his work was forgotten (most were unknown in his lifetime too.). In March 1829 (almost 100 years after his death) the composer Felix Mendelssohn performed Bachs St. Mathews Passion. This spurred a world-wide interest in Bach. Soon Bachs works were appreciated by the world- essentially for the first time.

Bachs Lifetime of Work

In Bachs Life time he composed 1315 musical works. These include the piano, organ, orchestral, choral and chamber works.

Information and pictures courtesy of: =1006031913206 os/bach/ 890853ef010535833be7970c-500wi