Johann Sebastian Bach (07:37)
Bach was part of a multigenerational musical family. He was born in Eisenach, where Martin Luther transposed the New Testament into German. At 15, Bach moved to Luneberg, singing in the church choir, and furthering his education.
Bach's Religious Ties (02:52)
Luther highly influenced Bach. The men were both from Eisenach and music was central to Lutheranism. Their hometown has a museum dedicated to the composer.
Bach's Youth (05:45)
At 18, Bach worked for New Church in Arnstadt, honing his organ skills. He was known for his quick temper with inept musicians and disrespectful attitude toward employers. The town dedicated displays, statues, and a church to him.
Bach's Divi Blasii Employment (05:38)
By 1707, Bach was appointed music director at Saint Blasius Church in Muhlhausen. Saint Mary’s Church premiered his "Gott ist Mein Konig." The town hall has kept and displayed all Bach's records, and his resignation letter.
Bach's Marriage and Imprisonment (05:48)
Bach married Maria Barbara in Dornheim in October 1707; they moved to Weimer and soon had six children. In 1717, Prince Leopold of Kothen offered Bach a court position. The duke imprisoned Bach at the Bastille Tower of Schloss to prevent him from leaving.
Bach's Kothen Period (06:26)
Bach focused on secular and chamber music, writing the Brandenburg Concertos. He befriended the Prince, naming him godfather of his seventh child, but the baby and his wife died soon after. Bach remarried quickly, forming a musical connection with Anna Magdalena Wilcke.
Bach's Pace (07:11)
Bach was appointed to Thomaskantor of Leipzig, requiring compositions for four churches, teaching and instruction, and organ maintenance. He wrote cycles of cantatas, performing a new piece every week for a year.
Bach's Passions (05:46)
Elias Haussmann painted Bach’s portrait in 1746, creating a copy soon after; both paintings are displayed in Leipzig. In 1724, Bach composed "Saint John’s Passion" and in 1727, he created "Saint Matthew’s Passion."
Bach Revived (05:01)
Anna Magdalena Bach birthed 13 children; two sons became known composers. Bach wrote "Art of Fugue" and "Mass in B Minor" as summation of his life’s work. He died in Leipzig in 1750. Felix Mendelssohn made Bach famous 80 years after his death.
Credits: J.S. Bach (00:51)
Credits: J.S. Bach
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