Johann Sebastian Bach 1685-1750. Bach was a German composer and musician, perhaps the most prolific composer of all time having written over 1200 pieces, though incredibly, several hundred compositions were likely lost! A giant amongst geniuses. (more below)
• 100% cotton
• Ash is 99% cotton, 1% polyester
• Sport Grey is 90% cotton, 10% polyester
S M L XL 2XL 3XL 4XL 5XL
Length (inches) 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35
Width (inches) 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32
He was born into a musical family and at a very early age learned musical theory and numerous keyboards including the organ. At age 10 he was orphaned and moved in with his older brother J.C. Bach, who was a church organist. It was here that he studied, performed, and copied music, including his own brother's. He received valuable teaching from his brother, who instructed him on the clavichord. J. C. exposed him to the works of great composers of the day, including South German composers such as Johann Pachelbel and Johann Jakob Froberger; French composers, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Louis Marchand, and Marin Marais; and the Italian clavierist, Girolamo Frescobaldi. Also during this time, he was taught theology, Latin, Greek, French, and Italian at the local gymnasium school of higher learning.
After graduating from his formal studies where music was a major theme, he was appointed his first job as court musician for Duke Johann Ernst III in Weimar at the age of 17. He continued to study with renowned musicians and organists of the time including Dieterich Buxtehude, who he would visit regularly by walking a 280 mile round trip to Lubeck, Germany. During his 7 months at this post his fame as a highly skilled organist really took off and word spread fast through the country about Bach's advanced playing. He then took several more low paying organ and choir master jobs in small towns until finally in 1706 he applied for a post as organist at the Blasius Church in Mühlhausen. As part of his audition he composed a full cantata which is a large piece for vocal soloists, choir and orchestra. Needless to say JS got the job and at last was well paid with professional musicians on hand and a very receptive hierarchy that encouraged his composing. Shortly after landing the post he met then quickly married Maria Barbara Bach.
Just two years later he was able to leave this position for a bigger opportunity - returning to Weimar - this time as organist and from 1714 Konzertmeister (director of music) at the ducal court, where he had an opportunity to work with a large, well-funded contingent of professional musicians. It was here that he really started composing in a frenzy, the likes of which the world had never seen (and never has since!) During this time he wrote many compositions for orchestra and especially for keyboard. But the biggest leap was that he dove into fugues, a contrapuntal type of composition that few, well probably nobody, has ever been his equal. This led into his monumental work, The Well Tempered Clavier – a collection of 48 preludes and fugues.
From 1717-1723 he held the position of Kapellmeister (director of music) for Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Köthen, Germany. He was paid even more and had more freedom compositionally. Here he stepped up the pace even more, incredibly, and wrote the future masterpieces such as the orchestral suites, cello suites, sonatas and partitas, and the astonishing, Brandenburg Concertos. Quick side note – upon hearing the Brandenburg Concerto #2, which features a virtuoso piccolo trumpet part, on the BBC in 1965, Paul McCartney knew at last that a piccolo trumpet would play the big solo during his song, Penny Lane.
During this time his wife Maria Barbara died suddenly in 1720 at the age of 36. They had 3 boys though 3 other children died during childbirth. A year later Bach married Anna Magdalena Wilcke, a fine soprano 16 years his junior who bore him 13 more children, though only 6 survived. Bach was a very busy guy! Another side note – though Bach had the same birth and death years as Handel and both were from Germany, (Handel made his living largely in England) they never met though both apparently knew of each other and had mutual admiration for the other's talents.
To the end of his life in 1750, Bach wrote many more amazing pieces including The Art of the Fugue, his major choral works including the B Minor Mass, St Matthew Passion and the Musical Offering. And many solo keyboard works.
It's unlikely there will ever be a musician like JS Bach again.