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"He is a man of two worlds: his artistic perception and creativity proceed, as if not in contact with an almost banal burgher existence, regardless of him." - Albert Schweitzer on J.S.Bach.
Bach Johann Sebastian (1685-1750) is an outstanding German composer, organist, representative of the transitional era from Baroque to Classicism. The unsurpassed master of polyphony. During his life he wrote more than 1000 works.
Among them: "The Well-Tempered Clavier" (part 1 - 1722, part 2 - 1744), "St. Matthew Passion" (1727), "St. John Passion" (1724), six "Brandenburg Concerts" (1711-1720), etc. His music had a strong influence on the work of subsequent composers.
Myths about Bach Johann Sebastian
Bach was a deeply religious person. J.S.Bach was a staunch Protestant. This was reflected in his works: "High Mass in B minor", oratorios "Passion according to John", "Passion according to Matthew". In addition, he wrote about 200 ecclesiastical and secular cantatas, as well as pieces for organ, including the famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor.
Bach became a famous composer during his lifetime. During his lifetime, Bach was a famous organist, but not a composer. The fame of the composer came to him only half a century after his death. Moreover, most of his works were forgotten after his death, and only in 1829, after Mendelssohn performed "The Passion according to St. Matthew," began the revival of works and the exaltation of the name of the great composer.
The Bach family was famous in the musical circle. In some sources, the Bach family is called plebeian. But how many in the world were there such remarkable genera. For seven generations, there were 40 professional musicians in this family. Although the roots of the clan were folk, but in terms of the number of talents, he overlapped any aristocratic family. Among them there were wandering spielmans, amateur musicians - gudders, sedentary masters - church organists and city musicians. Perhaps we would now talk about them differently if the unconditional genius had not appeared in the family - Johann Sebastian Bach, whose works overlapped the merits of all members of the family.
The Bach family originates from the baker's family. Great-grandfather I.S. Bach (Faith Bach) was German, originally from Thuringia. By trade, he was a baker, but according to legend, he never parted with an instrument like a zither. He died in 1619. His second son, Hans Bach, became Johann Sebastian's great-grandfather. According to some sources, he played the violin well, but was a weaver by profession.
Bach was left without parents early. Johann Sebastian Bach's mother died when he was only nine years old. The father rather quickly, literally a few months later, remarried, but soon after that he died. The children were left in the care of their stepmother, who could not look after them. She left the children and returned to her home.
Little Bach stole a notebook with notes from his older brother to rewrite them for himself. This is one of the widespread legends, which says that little Bach, who knew that his brother kept a notebook with notes of works by famous composers in his closet, stole it. At night in the moonlight for six months he copied it for himself, until the deception was revealed. Bach's brother, Christopher took the manuscript away from a little boy. After that, Bach's eyesight deteriorated greatly ... This legend is not very reliable, but it is found in many articles dedicated to Bach. It is unlikely that the moon, without disappearing from the sky, could help Bach rewrite notes throughout the entire period of time. In addition, so that the elder brother does not look like a monster, let's say that after the death of his mother and father, he completely took the two younger brothers under his wing, although he was 24 years old. It was thanks to Christopher that Johann learned to play the harpsichord and learned the basics of music.
Bach was admitted to school because of his good voice. At the age of 14, Bach went to Northern Germany to enroll in a music school, which accepted children of poor people if they had a good voice. He was accepted to school because he had a good soprano. But the voice soon began to break. Perhaps it would have been much more difficult for him to finish his studies, if not for the talent of the violinist and organist.
Bach lost his position as organist in Arnstadt due to conflicts with the ranks of the consistory. Of course, there were conflicts with the ranks, but primarily because of the liberties that Bach allowed when performing church music, decorating it in his own way, sometimes not in accordance with the canons of the church. The main threat to his reputation was his students. Sometimes biographers turn a blind eye to this, pushing all problems onto relations with officials. But it is worth noting that on August 4, 1705, Johann Sebastian Bach clashed with six students on the market square. The group was headed by the conductor of the Geersbach choir, who, apparently, decided to settle scores with Bach. Geersbach called the teacher a "brat" and demanded, threatening with a rapier (or, according to some sources, a stick), that Bach apologize for speaking negatively about his bassoon playing. In response, Bach took out his sword and rebuffed him. The fighters were separated, but the very next day the whole small town knew about the incident. Moreover, the next day at the consistory, Bach confessed that he called Geersbach a "pig bassoonist." The students, of course, were punished, but after that the ranks of the consistory faced a problem: what to do with J.S.Bach? The resolution of the conflict dragged on, but in the end, Bach left this post.
To listen to the play of Dietrich Buxtehud Bach, being poor, walked on foot from Arnstadt to Lubeck (about 300 km). Many textbooks write about this, but the fact is completely unconfirmed. Bach went to Lubeck literally a couple of months after the skirmish with his students - at the end of October, so the consistory reacted very favorably to his journey. In addition, the Bach family had good connections, so that a passing wagon could be found. Note also that the load he took was not light. Indeed, in addition to clothing (full dress attire), he had to take notes. In the four weeks given to him, he physically could not have made a trip on foot so far with such a load, especially in the autumn thaw. And he was already beginning to understand his worth as an organist.
Bach was one of the first to invite a woman to perform the soprano part in a male choir. In those days, only male voices sounded in German churches. But Bach often began to think about the fact that in order to achieve purity and novelty of sound, some of the voices must be female. As a result, while working in Arnstadt, he replaced one male voice with a female one during the choir rehearsals. Maria Barbara was the woman who sang the soprano part in the choir. Soon such experiments were forbidden to him. Even then, Bach understood that the future of German church choirs lay in the beauty and sonority of female voices.
Bach did not charge fees for private lessons. Johann Sebastian Bach was not a wasteful man, he was calculating enough to support his large family. However, he was not petty either. Bach did not like to take fees for private lessons and taught boys and young men for free.
Bach won a musical duel against the famous Marchand. Louis Marchand, composer of the Versailles school, organist and harpsichord player, came to Dresden on tour from Paris, where he fell out of favor at that time. The French court bandmaster Valumier immediately understood how such competition could threaten him and came up with a rather original plan. He invited a German virtuoso from Weimer to Dresden, who, as you might guess, was J.S.Bach. Marchand really performed brilliantly in front of a noble audience, conquering everyone with French chic and magnificent performance. At the end of the concert, he performed a French song, adding his own elements and improvisations to it. After such a performance, they asked to play a Weimer musician, a seemingly very simple and unprepossessing person. Bach did not play anything new. He simply repeated the French song after Louis Marchand, copying all the decorations and improvisations of the master, after which he added to it several of his own complex and effective variations, invented on the go. Perhaps this was the first such performance by Bach in a noble society, which at that time enjoyed more French and Italian music, forgetting about the national heritage. The performance was greeted with thunderous applause. The winner was undoubtedly I.S. Bach. However, the story did not end there. Marchand challenged Bach to a second creative duel. Bach agreed. The high society gathered in the minister's house, the king himself arrived. But the tournament did not take place! The famous Frenchman did not come and, as it turned out, left back to France in the morning. Bach performed alone in front of the royal court, striking everyone with the virtuosity of his playing. This was the undoubted success of I.S. Bach.
I.S. Bach was a good choir leader in the churches where he worked. In fact, Bach faced constant challenges at work, especially when organizing and leading choirs. In most of the churches where he worked, relationships with people were poor. One of the biographers wrote that Bach possessed "an exuberant character." Having an explosive temperament, he never compromised his beliefs, which naturally had a negative impact on work and relationships with others.
Bach was married twice. Bach had two wives and he loved both. The first, his relative, is Maria Barbara, the youngest daughter of Johann Michael Bach, to whom he was engaged on September 17, 1707. They lived together for almost 13 years. Maria Barbara died of a sudden apoplectic stroke and was buried on July 7, 1720. On the day of his death, Bach himself was not at home. He was never able to see his wife on her last journey. After this marriage, 4 children remained alive, whom Johann Sebastian had to raise to his feet. On December 3, 1721, Bach married for the second time to Anna Magdalena Wilke. The second wife was 16 years younger than him. She became the mainstay of the rest of his life.
Bach had many children. According to biographers, there were twenty of them. The famous German musicologist Hugo Riemann wrote: “Six sons and seven daughters were born of Bach’s second wife, so if all his children had survived, there would have been twenty of them: nine daughters and eleven sons. But most of them died at an early age. , and only six sons and four daughters survived Bach. "
Bach was arrested. In Weimer, on November 3, 1717, Wilhelm Ernst ordered the arrest of Bach for unlawful obstinacy. The obstinacy was Bach's persistence, who demanded dismissal. Only on December 2, he was dismissed from office and released. It was at this time that he wrote a notebook of exercises for his son, known as the "Organ Book" (it contains 46 organ choral preludes).
During Bach's lifetime, only one cantata was published. In 1708, at the age of 23, Bach brought home the printed "Election Cantata", on its cover was written: "Year 1708. Organist of Mühlhausen." No more cantatas were published during Bach's lifetime.
The Brandenburg Concerto was not performed during the composer's lifetime. There is no evidence that this concert was performed at the Brandenburg Court. For many years the score of this concert was kept by the Margrave, and after his death in 1734 it was packed together with the scores of little-known composers. The concert was sold for only 6 pennies. It is also surprising that Bach himself did not seem to remember these concerts.
At the end of his life, Bach went blind. In the late 1740s and early 1750s, Bach began to lose his sight dramatically. Two cataract surgeries were unsuccessful and he finally went blind. According to the testimony of those close to him, 10 days before his death, he suddenly regained his sight. A few hours later, he was struck by a blow. On July 28, 1750, the great composer passed away. He died at the age of 62.