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Composer: Bach

There are few composers more credited in influencing musical form and concepts than that of Johann Sebastian Bach. Continue reading to find our more about Bach's musical genius in the Baroque period.

Johann Sebastian Bach: in the blog Composer:Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach:

Johann Sebastian Bach was born and grew up in Germany in 1685. As the youngest child in the family by the age of 10 his father had died and Johann along with his brother Jakob moved to live with their eldest brother.

At the age of 15 Johann gained a position in a choir in Lunenburg where he struck up a friendship with the composer and organist Georg Bohm. This friendship was the first in which young Bach studied the manuscripts of other composers and used them to further his own musical education. In 1703 Bach wrote his first compositions for Organ including cantatas and a number of preludes and fugues. These works showed Bach intelligence for musical forms and structure.

In 1707 Bach married Maria Barbara and their first child was soon to follow. Over the next ten years Bach worked at various religious institutions writing countless musics for the organ. In1716 he took a position at the household of Duke Ernst August and stayed at court until 1720 having written a series of suites, sonatas, overtures and concertos, including the famous Brandenburg Concertos BWV 1046-51. In 1722 Bach took the position as Cantor of the Thomasschule in Leipzig, a welcome change after having lost his wife and consequently remarrying. Bach stayed in his position at the Thomasschule for the rest of his life gaining recognition from various admirers including the King Elector of Poland-Saxony.

By 1749 Bach was completely blind and at the age of 66 he died with works unfinished. His grave was later found in the 19th century during building works and his ashes were moved inside the church of Johannerskirche in Leipzig.

Though Bach was only 66 at his death, his most famous works in Baroque polyphony had already reached their apotheosis and faded away from popularity in musical fashion. His works and achievements lay dormant for almost 100 years until the likes of Mendelsohn revealed Bach's genius to the world. Bach was renowned for his musical form and appreciation of great manuscripts of the Italian and German which shaped his music. His only restriction, if it can be called that, was that of the church who he exemplified in almost all of his works.

In a musical career with so many significant achievements it is hard to choose his best works. However from the perspective of the piano, few achievements can be greater than that of The Well Tempered Clavier which contains two books of 48 preludes and fugues in varying keys and lengths, the most often played which is the first in C Major. The organ works of Bach are also exemplary in terms of keyboard works, perhaps the most famous of which is Tocatta and Fugue in D minor.

We hope you have enjoyed this short blog on Composer: Bach and that it has given a brief insight in to the life and music of this influential composer. Continue reading our blogs to find out about more composers in our composers series.


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