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Johann Sebastian Bach – The Choice of Music

The surname Bach and the word “musician” have been synonymous in Germany for several centuries, because this ancient family gave the world 56 musicians, but only in the fifth generation was born the one who was destined to glorify the surname – Johann Sebastian Bach. His biographer later wrote that Johann’s work emitted such a bright light that his reflection fell on all representatives of the family. This man became the pride of his fatherland, it seemed as if the art of music itself patronized him. However, during the life of the great composer, he could hardly be considered the chosen one of fate.

Influenced by brother
At first glance, the life path of Johann Sebastian Bach may seem no different from the biographies of other German musicians who lived in the XVII-XVIII centuries. He was born on March 31, 1685 in the small town of Eisenach in Thuringia. Bach became orphaned early – he was only 9 years old when his mother died, and a year later his father. He was taken to his upbringing by his older brother Johann Christoph, who was an organist in a neighboring city. First, Johann Sebastian, composer Johann Sebastian Bach studied music under the guidance of his brother and school cantors, later he moved to the lower Saxon city of Luneburg, where he attended school at the church. He mastered the technique of playing the harpsichord, violin, viola, organ, in addition, Johann Sebastian was a singer in the choir, and later became an assistant cantor after a mutation of his voice.

Already in his youth, Bach clearly recognized his vocation in organ music. He constantly studied the art of improvisation on the organ with the best German masters of that time. Subsequently, these skills will become the basis of his skill. It is worth adding to this the acquaintance of Johann Sebastian with various genres of European music. He participated in concerts at the Celle court chapel, which was distinguished by its love of French music, visited Lübeck and Hamburg, had the opportunity to study the works of Italian masters in the school library.

Young perfectionist
Johann Sebastian after school was a fairly educated and experienced musician, but the desire for learning did not leave him throughout his life. He was interested in everything that could at least slightly expand his professional horizons. Bach’s career was distinguished by perfectionism and an eternal desire for self-improvement. It was not by chance that he occupied this or that position, each step of his musical hierarchy (from organist to cantor) Johann Sebastian Bach with a cello Johann Sebastian Bach deserved perseverance and work. And with every step, the practitioner turned into a composer, whose creative impulses and accomplishments went far beyond the goals that Bach set.

In 1703, he became a court musician at the Duke of Johann Ernst in Weimar. A few months later they started talking about him as a prominent performer. Bach was then invited to Arnstadt to take up the position of church organ overseer. At St. Boniface’s Church, Johann Sebastian worked with a well-tuned instrument that expanded his performing and composing abilities. In Arnstadt, he wrote many organ works, but over time he had problems communicating with local authorities. Bach was not satisfied with the level of training of choral singers, and local officials showed him dissatisfaction with the musical accompaniment of the choral performance, which supposedly confuses the parishioners.

Large family of Bach
In Arnstadt, Johann Sebastian fell in love with his cousin Mary. Despite the kinship, the lovers decided to get married, but their Johann Sebastian Bach family-family union was short-lived. Maria lived only 36 years, although she gave birth to 7 children for the composer. Only four of them survived. Bach’s second wife was Anna Magdalena, who was 16 years younger than him. But such a difference in age did not prevent Anna from becoming a caring mother for her husband’s already grown children. She gave Johann Sebastian another 13 heirs, coped well with housekeeping and was sincerely interested in her husband’s achievements in the musical field.

Looking for perspectives
When Bach was invited to become an organist in Mühlhausen in 1706, he no doubt changed his job. The position was advantageous and provided Johann Sebastian with clearly greater opportunities than in Arnstadt, but it was not enough to promote the development of church music, as Bach believed. By this time, he had already accumulated an extensive repertoire and, not seeing Johann Sebastian Bach composing himself for prospects, wrote a resignation letter to the city magistrate.

Versatile activity awaited Johann Sebastian Bach in the castle church and chapel at the court of the Duke Ernst of Saxe-Weimar. In Weimar, the composer managed to finish several of his iconic works – Toccata and Fugue in D minor, Passacalia in C Minor, as well as the famous Organ Book, a guide for beginning organists. Bach became famous far beyond the city limits, as a connoisseur of improvisation and the best adviser in the construction of the organ.

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