Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Johann Sebatian Bach

Johann Sebastien Bach is one of my favorite composers. His music is fantastic. A few months ago I read a REALLY BIG book about him. It was very informative and I learned alot, but it took me two months to read, which slowed me down on my 201 book goal. The little bit I have written below is just a small fraction of all that you can learn about Bach. I'm quite positive I'll be writing a lot more about him later.

Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician
Christoph Wolff

Johann S. Bach came from a very musical family. He was born in Eisenach, Germany in 1685, which was the same city where Martin Luther translated the Bible into German. When Bach was ten years old, his parents both died and he went to live with his older brother Johann Christoph, who had been a student of Pachelbel. Johann Sebastian learned from this young age the importance of learning from other’s work to help improve one’s own skills. After Johann Chistoph died, Bach went to be a boy soprano at Luneberg, Germany. There he became very good at the violin and viola and by the time he left at eighteen years old he was a master clavichordist, organist and was very good at composing.
He worked in the court orchestra at Weimar, Germany, playing his violin and viola but he loved the organ. So, he moved to Arnstadt where he wrote organ music. In 1705, Bach walked two hundred miles to hear Dietrich Buxtehude, the greatest organist of the time. His music was never the same. In 1707, he moved to St. Blasius where he married his cousin, Maria Barbara. Two of their sons, Wilhelm Friedemann and Carl Philip Emanuel both became well known musicians.
After a year, Bach moved back to Weimar to be the court organist to Duke Wilhelm Ernst. Being a strong Christian, he wrote a great many chorale preludes and in his “Little Book for the Organ,” he wrote, “To the glor of God alone in the highest and to further the learning of everyone.” In 1717, Bach went to be the court conductor for the Prince of Cothen. He believed that the main reason for writing music was for the glory of God. While in Cothen, he wrote, “The Well Tempered Clavier.” In 1720, Bach returned home from a trip to find out that his wife had died and had been buried while he was away. He later married Anna Magdelena, a soprano for whom he wrote many great works. She helped him greatly in his work. In all, Bach had twenty children, but sadly only ten lived to adulthood. In 1723, Bach went to Leipzig where he became cantor of the St. Thomas Church. It was here that Bach wrote most of his musical compositions.
Bach died at the age of sixty-five and was mourned greatly. Bach is considered one of the greatest, if not THE greatest composers to have ever lived. In truth, his greatness came from God, whom Bach served with upmost adoration. He set an example that we should recognize and follow. Just like the young Johann Sebastian Bach copied other men’s work and used it to further his musical skills, we should look at his life and use it as an example of a man who followed God with his whole heart.

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