Johann Sebastian Bach Biography

Johann Sebastian Bach (Eisenach, Thuringia, Germany, 31 March 1685 – Leipzig, Germany, 28 July 1750).

Classical artist and musician of German origin, recognized as the best composer of the Baroque and widely admired in all the latitudes of the world for the beauty and complexity of his innovative pieces, produced in the eighteenth century, in which -according to the opinion of the musical experts- mix different European musical styles.

At the time, Bach masterfully uses his narrative talent, to illustrate different events and emotions through melody, which is why he is also considered one of the most important classical musicians in history.

Early life

Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach, Thuringia, Germany, on 31 March 1685, although some researchers point out that his birth may have occurred a few days earlier, on 21 March 1865.

However, by convention, the first date is considered to be true. Bach came into the world in a family of Lutheran musicians. His father, Johhan Ambrosius was a renowned musician of Eisenach, and is believed to have introduced Bach from an early age to music, teaching him to play violin.

He began his formal education at the age of seven, when he began attending school. At the age of ten he lost his parents, leaving under the care of his older brother, Johann Christoph Bach, who served as organist in a church in Ohrdruf. Bach moved in with his brother, who enrolled him in school and taught him to play the organ.

Beginning of his musical career

At the age of fifteen, he secured a place at a school in Lúneburg, thanks to his beautiful soprano voice, however when his voice soon changed, he devoted himself to playing the violin.

At the age of eighteen, in 1703, he entered as a court musician of Johann Ernest III, Duke of Saxe-Weimar, serving as an official organist, although at times he also had to perform the violin. Bach quickly built a great artistic reputation.

His next job was at the New Church in Arnstadt, where he was hired as a principal organist. However, within his duties were not only to interpret the music during the events, but also to teach to the children of the religious community, which Bach did not seem to like much, trying to distance the most from each class, reason for which he was rebuked on more than one occasion.

In 1706, he married Maria Barbara Bach, his cousin, with whom he had seven children, of whom only a few managed to survive childhood.

The following year, in 1707, he was able to obtain another position as organist to the Church of St. Blaise, in M’hlhausen. However, Bach’s happiness was erased by the Church Pastor’s resistance to his novel and complex musical arrangements, on the grounds that ecclesiastical music should be simple.

At this time Bach composed his work “Actus Tragicus”. The following year, in 1708, Bach obtained the post of official organist at the court of Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Weimar. It was a period of much musical production for Bach, who at this time managed to compose his “Tocata y fuga en D minor”, which is considered one of his best known organ pieces. He also brought to the world his cantata “From the heart, and from the mouth, and from the writing”.

Stay in The then

Nine years later, in 1717, Bach was presented with the opportunity to work for Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Céthen.

However, Duke Wilhelm Ernst refused to give up his favorite musician, even locking him in jail when he discovered him trying to leave. Near the end of that year, the Duke freed him, giving him his blessing to finally move to the town of C.p., where Prince Leopold was waiting for him.

During his time in this court, Bach composed most of his concertos, sonatas and suites, although he also wrote works for violin. In 1721, he composed his “Brandenburg Concerts”, in honor of the ruler of that duchy.

He also wrote his book “The Well Tempered Key.” As for his personal life, in 1720, his wife Maria passed away. The following year, Bach married a lady named Anna Magdalena Wahcken, with whom he had thirteen children, of whom only half survived. Three years later, the orchestra of Prince Leopold’s court disbanded, forcing Bach to seek new horizons.

St. Thomas Church

He quickly obtained a position as organist and music teacher at the Church of St. Thomas, located in Leipzig, where he combined his work with the creation of some of his great pieces.

During his stay in this German town he wrote several of his cantatas. Between 1727 and 1729 he composed his “Passions”, of which, according to critics, the most famous is the “Passion according to St. Matthew”. Also in 1733 he wrote the pieces “Krye” and “Gloria”, which later integrated, in 1749, a piece of music that embodied a complete Latin Mass, known today as his “Misa en B minor”, although the work was never played during his life.

Final years

In 1747, he traveled to Prussia, where he met Frederick II the Great, son of the Sergeant King, to whom he later gave his work “Musical Offering” composed of a series of escapes from his authorship. In 1749, he undertook the composition of what would be his last musical work “The Art of The Fugue”, which he failed to finish.

In 1750, he decided to undergo eye surgery in order to regain some of the vision he had been losing for a few years. However, the intervention failed, causing him to lose his sight completely. A few months later, he suffered a stroke that ended his life, on July 28, 1750.

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Johann Sebastian Bach Biography
Source: Education  
July 31, 2019

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