•  Johann Sebastian Bach


    A Composer of the Baroque era,  Born March 21, 1685, died July 28, 1750

    You might be familiar with the first few notes of this composition:  Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.  Listen to it HERE!
    (Check the bottom of the page for additional sites and performances of Bach's music.)
    Both of Bach's parents died before he was 10. After their deaths, Johann lived with his older brother Cristoph, a church organist, who taught Johann harpsichord and organ.  For virtually his entire life, Johann Sebastian Bach was a church musician, beginning as a boy soprano in a church choir. After his voice changed he became a violinist in a church orchestra at Lunenberg, near Hamburg, Germany. 
    As a teenager, Bach often traveled to Hamburg to hear concerts and to take organ lessons.  In 1703 (age 18), he became the town organist at Arnstadt, and it was here that he first began to compose music.  Four years later he married, and was soon appointed the court organist and violinist to the Duke of Weimar. In this position, Bach was able to study all styles of music and develop his composing skills.  He wrote many pieces for organ and harpsichord as well as several sacred cantatas. 
    In 1717 (age 32), the Prince of Cothen hired Bach as his court choirmaster . In this position he had more time to compose hundreds of works for clavier (including one of his most famous works, The Well-Tempered Clavier), strings, instrumental ensembles of all sizes, solos, duets, trios, and concertos.  His wife Maria died suddenly in 1720, and a year later he married Anna Wulken, a fine singer. 
    Interesting Bach factoids: 
    Bach had 20 children, several of whom became composers.  Although he wrote thousands of pieces of music, less than a dozen were published in his lifetime.  Bach never composed an opera; he thought they were frivolous (silly).  Richard Wagner said Bach's music "is the most stupendous miracle in all music."! Bach enjoyed the music of Antonio Vivaldi.
    1704:  During his lifetime the Boston News Letter is published; the first newspaper in America!
    1709:  Invention of the piano by Italian Bartolomeo Cristofori. 
    1714:  D. G. Fahrenheit constructs mercury thermometer with a temperature scale.
    1743:  The first settlement in South Dakota. 
    1750:  Death of J.S. Bach; the minuet becomes Europe's fashionable dance.
    What did your class decide were the most important facts to remember about Bach?
    Bach's signature copy of the first movement of his Sonata in Gminor for solo violin.
    Do you want to hear it?  Click HERE!
    Resources About Johann Sebastian Bach
    Bach loved the Canon and Fugue
    Here's one written by Karl Gottlieb Hering (1766-1853), also from Germany.
    J.S. Bach, Toccata & Fugue in D-minor- Stephanuskerk Hallelt, Click -  HERE!
    Bach's wonderful Magnificat in D major, BWV 243- with Nikolaus Harnoncourt conduction, Click HERE!
Last Modified on February 8, 2021