, These strictly contrapuntal compositions, and most of Bach's music in general, are characterised by distinct melodic lines for each of the voices, where the chords formed by the notes sounding at a given point follow the rules of four-part harmony. In England, Bach was coupled to an existing revival of religious and baroque music. Soon after that performance, Bach started to become regarded as one of the greatest composers of all times, if not the greatest, a reputation he has retained ever since. Bach", Neuaufgefundenes Bach-Autograph in Weißenfels. Johann Sebastian Bach is a German composer and musician of the Baroque period.  The large-scale structure of every major Bach sacred vocal work is evidence of subtle, elaborate planning to create a religiously and musically powerful expression. To serve that end a simple accompaniment will not suffice. During his seven-month tenure at Weimar, his reputation as a keyboardist spread so much that he was invited to inspect the new organ and give the inaugural recital at the New Church (now Bach Church) in Arnstadt, located about 30 kilometres (19 mi) southwest of Weimar. Even in his four-part writing we can, not infrequently, leave out the upper and lower parts and still find the middle parts melodious and agreeable. He lost his parents at a young age following which his eldest brother took him into his household and began tutoring him. , After being offered the position, Bach was invited to Leipzig only after Georg Philipp Telemann indicated that he would not be interested in relocating to Leipzig. In the last years of his life, Bach revised several of his prior compositions. "perhaps the most admired of Bach's compositions presumed to date from before his appointment in Weimar (1708)", David Schulenburg in Boyd, ed., 1999. Four-part harmonies predate Bach, but he lived during a time when modal music in Western tradition was largely supplanted in favour of the tonal system. Bach obliged, playing a three-part fugue on one of Frederick's fortepianos, which was a new type of instrument at the time. Although it had been nearly a hundred years after this beautiful masterpiece had been composed, the concert ignited a flame of curiosity and re-evaluation of Bach’s work, resulting in a world-wide acknowledgement of his brilliance and importance to Baroque classical music. Bach Reception in a Late Twentieth-Century Dutch Composition by Elmer Schönberger", Koninklijke Vereniging voor Nederlandse Muziekgeschiedenis, Bach-Edition: The Complete Works (172 CDs & CDR), "JS Bach is the greatest composer of all time, say today's leading composers for BBC Music Magazine", "Are the alleged remains of Johann Sebastian Bach authentic? His grave went unmarked for nearly 150 years, but in 1894 his remains were located and moved to a vault in St. John's Church. The first was Die Elenden sollen essen, BWV 75, performed in the Nikolaikirche on 30 May 1723, the first Sunday after Trinity.  Year round, Leipzig's Collegium Musicum performed regularly in venues such as the Café Zimmermann, a coffeehouse on Catherine Street off the main market square. Bach's Temperament", "Gold Standard for Bach's 'Goldberg Variations, "A compendium of works performed by the Bach Choir", Listing of manuscripts of Bach compositions once in the possession of C. P. E. Bach, "Chapter twelve: Wilhelm Friedemann Bach's Halle performances of cantatas by his father", pp. Five are mentioned in obituaries, three are extant. Johann Sebastian Bach. Peasant Cantata) or Italian (e.g.  These works are examples of the concerto grosso genre. Bach married his cousin, Maria Barbara Bach, and they had seven children. 160), other parts of which may be based on work by Telemann.. Bach's canons, and especially his fugues, are most characteristic of this style, which Bach did not invent but contributed to so fundamentally that he defined it to a large extent. The Musical Offering and The Art of Fugue are late contrapuntal works containing pieces for unspecified instruments or combinations of instruments. BWV 172 § Background, Canonic Variations on "Vom Himmel hoch da komm' ich her", 1733 Kyrie-Gloria Mass for the Dresden court, Klavierbüchlein für Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, Keyboard Concerto No. Johann Sebastian Bach was born March 31, 1685 in Eisenach, Thuringia, Germany. For example, The Well-Tempered Clavier comprises two books, each of which presents a prelude and fugue in every major and minor key, displaying a dizzying variety of structural, contrapuntal and fugal techniques..  Carl Philipp Emanuel, his second eldest son, was most active in safeguarding his father's legacy: he co-authored his father's obituary, contributed to the publication of his four-part chorales, staged some of his works, and the bulk of previously unpublished works of his father were preserved with his help. In his own time, Bach's reputation equalled that of Telemann, Graun and Handel. He composed concertos, for instance for violin and for harpsichord, and suites, as chamber music as well as for orchestra. Bach wrote hundreds of four-part harmonisations of Lutheran chorales. In the first case the accompaniment is subordinate, and serves merely to support the first or principal part. , Bach's time in Weimar was the start of a sustained period of composing keyboard and orchestral works. , In concerted playing in Bach's time the basso continuo, consisting of instruments such as organ, viola da gamba or harpsichord, usually had the role of accompaniment, providing the harmonic and rhythmic foundation of a piece. , Another characteristic of Bach's style is his extensive use of counterpoint, as opposed to the homophony used in his four-part Chorale settings, for example. Bach enriched established German styles through his mastery of counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and his adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach's music was transcribed and arranged to suit contemporary tastes and performance practice by composers such as Carl Friedrich Zelter, Robert Franz, and Franz Liszt, or combined with new music such as the melody line of Charles Gounod's Ave Maria. and the 1950 first edition of the Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis; but also books such as Gödel, Escher, Bach put the composer's art in a wider perspective. Some examples of this characteristic of Bach's style and its influence: Bach's insistence on the tonal system and contribution to shaping it did not imply he was less at ease with the older modal system and the genres associated with it: more than his contemporaries (who had "moved on" to the tonal system without much exception), Bach often returned to the then-antiquated modi and genres. Johann Sebastian’s career began in this Bach tradition, playing organ in Lutheran churches, and he was one of a few family members to become a professional. He has written on music and culture for publications including Culture Wars, the Huffington Post, the Independent and the Guardian. 3, or the Wachet auf... chorale prelude) and Wendy Carlos' 1968 Switched-On Bach, which used the Moog electronic synthesiser. While in Lüneburg, Bach had access to St. John's Church and possibly used the church's famous organ from 1553, since it was played by his organ teacher Georg Böhm. Bach was particularly attracted to the Italian style, in which one or more solo instruments alternate section-by-section with the full orchestra throughout a movement. Bach's a cappella music includes motets and chorale harmonisations. The typical oboe part carried exquisite arabesques with stepwise motion and long, complex phrases.  A cantata was required for the church services on Sundays and additional church holidays during the liturgical year. Since the 19th-century Bach Revival, he has been generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.. Bach". Bach's appointment as Court Composer was an element of his long-term struggle to achieve greater bargaining power with the Leipzig council. A series of organ compositions saw their first publication in 1833.  An inventory drawn up a few months after Bach's death shows that his estate included five harpsichords, two lute-harpsichords, three violins, three violas, two cellos, a viola da gamba, a lute and a spinet, along with 52 "sacred books", including works by Martin Luther and Josephus. The cantata cycle of his second year in Leipzig is called the chorale cantata cycle as it consists mainly of works in the chorale cantata format.  Several students of the old master, such as his son-in-law Johann Christoph Altnickol, Johann Friedrich Agricola, Johann Kirnberger, and Johann Ludwig Krebs, contributed to the dissemination of his legacy.  Bach's first Christmas cantata, Christen, ätzet diesen Tag, BWV 63, was premiered in 1714 or 1715.  At a young age, he established a reputation for creativity and ability to integrate foreign styles into his organ works. Johann Sebastian Bach (31 March 1685 – 28 July 1750) was born in Eisenach, he was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. A significant development in the later part of the 20th century was the momentum gained by the historically informed performance practice, with forerunners such as Nikolaus Harnoncourt acquiring prominence by their performances of Bach's music. , In 1717, Bach eventually fell out of favour in Weimar and, according to a translation of the court secretary's report, was jailed for almost a month before being unfavourably dismissed: "On November 6, , the quondam concertmaster and organist Bach was confined to the County Judge's place of detention for too stubbornly forcing the issue of his dismissal and finally on December 2 was freed from arrest with notice of his unfavourable discharge. , In Germany all throughout the century, Bach was coupled to nationalist feelings, and the composer was inscribed in a religious revival. The bulk of the music that had been printed during the composer's lifetime, at least the part that was remembered, was for the organ and the harpsichord. She remained to help run the household until her death in 1729. Throughout the 18th century Bach was primarily valued as an organist, while his keyboard music, such as The Well-Tempered Clavier, was appreciated for its didactic qualities.  His two years there were critical in exposing Bach to a wider range of European culture.  Together with one of the composer's former students, Johann Friedrich Agricola, the son also wrote the obituary ("Nekrolog"), which was published in Mizler's Musikalische Bibliothek [de], the organ of the Society of Musical Sciences, in 1754. He is known for instrumental compositions such as the Brandenburg Concertos and the Goldberg Variations, and for vocal music such as the St Matthew Passion and the Mass in B minor. Herein Bach excels all the composers in the world.  Schmieder largely followed the Bach-Gesellschaft-Ausgabe, a comprehensive edition of the composer's works that was produced between 1850 and 1900. Johann Sebastian and Maria Barbara had three more children, who however did not live to their first birthday, including twins born in 1713. BWV Anh. He was the son of Johann Ambrosius Bach, the director of the town musicians, and Maria Elisabeth Lämmerhirt. Many of the harpsichord concertos were not original works but arrangements of his concertos for other instruments, now lost.  The six motets definitely composed by Bach are Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied, Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf, Jesu, meine Freude, Fürchte dich nicht, Komm, Jesu, komm, and Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden.  He wrote sonatas for a solo instrument such as the viola de gamba accompanied by harpsichord or continuo, as well as trio sonatas (two instruments and continuo). The first version of Bach's Magnificat dates from 1723, but the work is best known in its D major version of 1733. A significant influence upon Bach's musical development during his years with the prince is recorded by Stauffer as Bach's "complete embrace of dance music, perhaps the most important influence on his mature style other than his adoption of Vivaldi's music in Weimar. For instance, Kuhnau, Bach's predecessor in Leipzig, had notoriously shunned opera and Italian virtuoso vocal music. Often the recasting of such previously composed music in an enhanced structure was the most visible change, as in the Mass in B minor. Between 1737 and 1739, Bach's former pupil Carl Gotthelf Gerlach held the directorship of the Collegium Musicum. After this, in 1725, Bach "lost interest" in working even for festal services at the Paulinerkirche and appeared there only on "special occasions". Bach’s deep religious faith could be found even in his secular music. , While in Leipzig, performances of Bach's church music were limited to some of his motets, and under cantor Doles some of his Passions. Paul Kilbey. Bach was a German composer of the Baroque period and virtuoso organist. For the flute, Bach included many little flourishes, staccato leaps, and quick, abbreviated runs. In 1700, he was granted a scholarship at St. Michael’s School in Luneburg for his fine voice.  This was "the leading cantorate in Protestant Germany", located in the mercantile city in the Electorate of Saxony, which he held for 27 years until his death. Felix Mendelssohn significantly contributed to the renewed interest in Bach's work with his 1829 Berlin performance of the St Matthew Passion, which was instrumental in setting off what has been called the Bach Revival. Prince Leopold, himself a musician, appreciated Bach's talents, paid him well and gave him considerable latitude in composing and performing. , The liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church remembers Bach annually with a feast day on 28 July, together with George Frideric Handel and Henry Purcell; on the same day, the Calendar of Saints of the Lutheran Church remembers Bach and Handel with Heinrich Schütz. Some of his larger works, such as Clavier-Übung II and IV, are intended for a harpsichord with two manuals: performing them on a keyboard instrument with a single manual (like a piano) may present technical difficulties for the crossing of hands. 28, inspired by the Well-Tempered Clavier, in 1835, and Schumann published his Sechs Fugen über den Namen B-A-C-H in 1845. He is known for instrumental compositions, and for vocal music Since the 19th-century Bach Revival, he has been generally … Greetings, Martians. Influenced by that of the Flemish school, it leads the elaboration to an interaction of abstract and instrumental lines that moderns call “ Harmonic Counterpoint “. If more parts are interwoven in the same free and independent manner, the apparatus of language is correspondingly enlarged, and becomes practically inexhaustible if, in addition, varieties of form and rhythm are introduced. The motet Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren (BWV 231) is part of the composite motet Jauchzet dem Herrn, alle Welt (BWV Anh. , In the spring of 1714, Bach was promoted to Konzertmeister, an honour that entailed performing a church cantata monthly in the castle church. The music fits the instrument, pushing it to the full scale of its possibilities and requiring virtuosity of the player but without bravura. A decidedly North German influence was exerted by Georg Böhm, with whom Bach came into contact in Lüneburg, and Dieterich Buxtehude, whom the young organist visited in Lübeck in 1704 on an extended leave of absence from his job in Arnstadt. In 1735 Bach started to prepare his first publication of organ music, which was printed as the third Clavier-Übung in 1739.  Throughout this period, Bach also continued to adopt music of contemporaries such as Handel (BNB I/K/2) and Stölzel (BWV 200), and gave many of his own earlier compositions, such as the St Matthew and St John Passions and the Great Eighteen Chorale Preludes, their final revisions. The same applies to much of his most virtuoso keyboard music. Chorale "Zion hört die Wächter singen", Prelude No.  As part of his regular church work, he performed other composers' motets, which served as formal models for his own. 21 March] 1685 – 28 July 1750) was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. Fugues are as characteristic to Bach's style as, for instance, the Sonata form is characteristic to the composers of the Classical period. The work was published and performed in the early 19th century, and although a score partially in Bach's handwriting exists, the work was later considered spurious. , Bach's cantatas vary greatly in form and instrumentation, including those for solo singers, single choruses, small instrumental groups, and grand orchestras. In 1713, Bach was offered a post in Halle when he advised the authorities during a renovation by Christoph Cuntzius of the main organ in the west gallery of the Market Church of Our Dear Lady. All kinds of publications involved Bach: not only were there the Bach Jahrbuch publications of the Neue Bachgesellschaft, various other biographies and studies by among others Albert Schweitzer, Charles Sanford Terry, Alfred Dürr, Christoph Wolff. Bach had visited Leipzig during Kuhnau's tenure: in 1714 he attended the service at the St. Thomas Church on the first Sunday of Advent, and in 1717 he had tested the organ of the Paulinerkirche. 11–12). Bach wrote for organ and for stringed keyboard instruments such as harpsichord, clavichord and lute-harpsichord. The earliest one with a known date is Christ lag in Todes Banden, BWV 4, for Easter 1707, which is one of his chorale cantatas. In the 20th century, Bach's music was widely performed and recorded, while the Neue Bachgesellschaft, among others, published research on the composer. He called one of them a "Zippel Fagottist" (weenie bassoon player). From 1726 he published some of his keyboard and organ music. In addition to singing in the choir, he played the school's three-manual organ and harpsichords.  Also in the contemporary press, Bach had his detractors, such as Johann Adolf Scheibe, suggesting he write less complex music, and his supporters, such as Johann Mattheson and Lorenz Christoph Mizler..  The Bach Digital website lists 50 known secular cantatas by the composer, about half of which are extant or largely reconstructable.  Some of the secular cantatas had a plot involving mythological figures of Greek antiquity (e.g. The work was never performed in full during Bach's lifetime..  The Canonic Variations on "Vom Himmel hoch da komm' ich her" and the Schübler Chorales are organ works Bach published in the last years of his life.  Bach's own style shifted in the last decade of his life, showing an increased integration of polyphonic structures and canons and other elements of the stile antico. During that time he gained further prestige through honorary appointments at the courts of Köthen and Weissenfels, as well as that of the Elector Frederick Augustus (who was also King of Poland) in Dresden. Johann Sebastian Bach (31 March 1685–28 July 1750) was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. 6) did not originate any new forms. Upon his return to Leipzig he composed a set of fugues and canons, and a trio sonata, based on the Thema Regium (theme of the king). " Although the complete mass was never performed during the composer's lifetime, it is considered to be among the greatest choral works in history. Similarly, for the cello suites, the virtuoso music seems tailored for the instrument, the best of what is offered for it, yet Bach made an arrangement for lute of one of these suites. Baroque and Bach are two words that are very often linked together. Bach was best known during his lifetime as an organist, organ consultant, and composer of organ works in both the traditional German free genres (such as preludes, fantasias, and toccatas) and stricter forms (such as chorale preludes and fugues). 2) Created works based on changing harmonies, melodically based.  In the "Suscepit Israel" of his 1723 Magnificat, he had the trumpets in E-flat play a melody in the enharmonic scale of C minor. In this sense, it is no surprise that Bach's music is easily and often performed on instruments it was not necessarily written for, that it is transcribed so often, and that his melodies turn up in unexpected places such as jazz music. Bach wrote both secular and sacred cantatas and developed what is known as "chorale cantata". Fortunately however, his musical compositions were admired and appreciated by geniuses like of Mozart and Beethoven; and in 1829, nearly 60 years after his death, Felix Mendelssohn, carried Bach’s Passion According to St. Matthew out of oblivion and into the German concert hall for a significant historical event. While by the end of the 19th century Bach had been inscribed in nationalism and religious revival, the late 20th century saw Bach as the subject of a secularised art-as-religion (Kunstreligion). In 1721, Bach married Anna Magdalena Wülcken. In church music, Italian composers had imitated the operatic vocal style in genres such as the Neapolitan mass. 191–197, Bach's secular cantatas in BWV order, each followed by a link to the, An Easter cantata, "one of Bach's better-known early works", writes David Schulenburg in Boyd, ed., 1999. From 1703 he was back in Thuringia, working as a musician for Protestant churches in Arnstadt and Mühlhausen and, for longer stretches of time, at courts in Weimar, where he expanded his organ repertory, and Köthen, where he was mostly engaged with chamber music. > For instance, the "Aria" of the Goldberg Variations has rich ornamentation in nearly every measure. The only near-contemporary source is an undated copy by Johannes Ringk, a pupil of Johann Peter Kellner. Read Full Biography. After leaving Weimar, Bach wrote less for organ, although some of his best-known works (the six Organ Sonatas, the German Organ Mass in Clavier-Übung III from 1739, and the Great Eighteen Chorale Preludes, revised late in his life) were composed after leaving Weimar. , Two large-scale compositions occupied a central place in Bach's last years. Some of these pieces, like "Bist du bei mir" (copied not by Bach but by Anna Magdalena), became famous before being dissociated with Bach. Bach was required to instruct the students of the Thomasschule in singing and provide church music for the main churches in Leipzig.  Later, he copied and arranged music for performance or as study material for his pupils. Johann Sebastian Bach's chamber music : background, analyses, individual works.  The first three cantatas in the new series Bach composed in Weimar were Himmelskönig, sei willkommen, BWV 182, for Palm Sunday, which coincided with the Annunciation that year; Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen, BWV 12, for Jubilate Sunday; and Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten! , In 1723, Bach was appointed Thomaskantor, Cantor of the Thomasschule at the Thomaskirche (St. Thomas Church) in Leipzig, which provided music for four churches in the city: the Thomaskirche and Nikolaikirche (St. Nicholas Church) and to a lesser extent the Neue Kirche (New Church) and Peterskirche (St. Peter's Church).  His fourth and last Clavier-Übung volume, the Goldberg Variations, for two-manual harpsichord, contained nine canons and was published in 1741. As with many things in Bach's life, family was everything. Bach's best-known orchestral works are the Brandenburg Concertos, so named because he submitted them in the hope of gaining employment from Margrave Christian Ludwig of Brandenburg-Schwedt in 1721; his application was unsuccessful. Posted by The second page of the Klavierbüchlein für Wilhelm Friedemann Bach is an ornament notation and performance guide that Bach wrote for his eldest son, who was nine years old at the time. His music is notable for its intellectual rigor and emotional expressiveness. Here are 24 additional facts and trivia about this famous composer: Johann Sebastian Bach is considered the quintessential composer of the Baroque era, and one of the most important figures in classical music in general. 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