That Johann Sebastian Bach highly esteemed the Suites is proved by the fact that he copied the parts of three of them with his own hand at Leipzig. With two exceptions, the gift of composition appears to have been possessed, or exercised, solely by Heinrich Bach see Table vi.
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Heinrich Bach was a very productive composer in all forms of musical art employed at that time in church Sp. His grandson, Johann Nikolaus, composed a Mass and a comic operetta ib. The fact that others who appreciated them were thus distinguished did not rouse the slightest envy in the Bachs. The Bachs not only displayed a happy content- edness, indispensable for the cheery enjoyment of life, but exhibited a clannish attachment to each other.
They could not all live in the same locality. But it was their habit to meet once a year at a time and place arranged beforehand. These gatherings generally took place at Erfurt, Eisenach, and sometimes at Arnstadt. Even after the family had grown very large, and many of its members had left Thuringia to settle in Upper and Lower Saxony and Franconia, the Bachs continued their annual meetings. On these occasions music was their sole recreation.
As those present were either Cantors, Organists, or Town Musicians, employed in the service of the Church and accustomed to preface the day's work with prayer, their first act was to sing a Hymn. Having fulfilled their religious duty, they spent the rest of the time in frivolous recreations. Best of all they liked to extemporise a chorus out of popular songs, comic or jocular, weaving them into a harmonious whole while declaiming the words of each.
But the ' Quodlibet ' was a familiar institution hi Germany at a much earlier period. I possess a collection of them printed and published at Vienna hi This man, the glory of his family, pride of his country- men, most gifted favourite of the Muse of Music, was Johann Sebastian Bach. For an example see Variation 30 of the ' Aria mit 30 Veranderungen ' Peters' ed. In it Bach combines two popular songs of his period. The twins appear to have been quite remarkable. They were deeply attached, alike in disposition, in voice, and in the style of their music.
If one was ill, so was the other.
They died within a short time of each other, and were objects of wondering interest to all who knew them. He lost his mother at an earlier period.
The Gregorian Calendar was not adopted in Germany until Had it been in use in Bach's birthday would be March See Table rv. At the latter date Johann Sebastian was three months short of his tenth year. For his brother no sooner had given him one piece to learn than the boy was demanding another more difficult. The most renowned Clavier composers of that day were Froberger, 3 Fischer, 4 Johann Caspar Kerl, 5 Pachelbel, 6 Buxtehude, 7 Bruhns, 8 1 Excepting Johann Jakob, a lad of thirteen years, Johann Christoph was Bach's only surviving brother, and the only one of the family in a position to look after him.
Johann Jakob accompanied Sebastian to Ohrdruf Pirro, p. One of the daughters was already married. What became of the other is not stated. See Table v.
That the boy was destined for a musical career by his father hardly can be doubted. That he was of unusual precocity, the story told by Forkel in the text proves. His father's asserted neglect to instruct him is therefore hardly credible. In he was Organist of St. Sebald's Church, Niirnberg. His influence upon the organ playing of his generation was enormous.
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Bach's brother, Johann Christoph, was his pupil. Refusal increasing his determination, he laid his plans to get the book without his brother's knowledge. It was kept on a book-shelf which had a latticed front.
Bach's hands were small. Inserting them, he got hold of the book, rolled it up, and drew it out. As he was not allowed a candle, he could only copy it on moonlight nights, and it was six months before he finished his heavy task. As soon as it was completed he looked forward to using hi secret a treasure won by so much labour.
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But his brother found the copy and took it from him without pity, nor did Bach recover it until his brother's death soon after. The youthful Bacn, aged fifteen in , no doubt seized the earliest opportunity to relieve his brother of the charge of him. Moreover, Joham Ch ristoph's family was increasing see Table v. See Pirro, pp. He left the Lyceum in March Michael's Convent. His fine treble voice procured him a fair livelihood. But unfortunately he soon lost it and did not at once develop another. For that purpose, while he was at Luneburg, he several times travelled to Hamburg to hear the famous organist, 2 Johann 1 Bach's entry into the choir of St.
Michael's Convent, Liineburg, took place about Easter Bach remained at St. Michael's for three years, till The choir library was particularly rich in the best church music of the period, both German and Italian. Spitta is of opinion that Bach's talents as a violinist and Clavier player were also laid under contribution. His voice, as Forkel states, soon ceased to be serviceable.
TjShm, then at St. John's, Luneburg, was a pupil of Reinken of lamburg. Spitta i. His pockets were empty and there seemed little prospect of a meal, when a window was opened and two herring heads were thrown out. Bach picked them up eagerly, and found in each of them a Danish ducat. Catherine's Church, Hamburg, in , and held the post until his death in The reigning Duke of Celle father-in-law of George i.
The Court Organist was a Frenchman. See Pirro, ' J. Bach,' pp. He remained in his new post only a few months. He was engaged as a Violin player, and since his interests were towards the Organ and Clavier, it is clear that he accepted the engagement as a temporary means of livelihood. Bach was drawn to Arniiadt chiefly by the fact that the New Church recently had been equipped with a particularly fine Organ specification in Spitta, i.
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Bach inaugurated it on July 13, ,jland entered on his duties as Organist of the church in the following mjmth Pirro, p. Mary's Church in that city, with whose compositions he was acquainted already. He remained there about three months, 3 listening 1 His earliest Church Cantata No. To the Arnstadt period also must be attributed the Capriccio written on the departure of his brother, Johann Jakob Peters bk.