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Biography of Johann Sebastian Bach

The magnificent German composer who wrote his works during the Baroque era, Johann Sebastian Bach, has been respected for centuries for his stylistic innovations and musical complexities. He had an impressive musical pedigree and served as organist in the early 18th century, producing such famous compositions as “Toccata and Fugue in D minor” (“Johann Sebastian Bach Biography”). Currently, he is one of the considerable and most famous Western composers.

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Bach’s work was primarily influenced by his birth in Eisenach, Germany, into a musical family. His relatives have been playing music for several generations. Johann Ambrosius, his father, was a city musician, and it is believed that he taught the little Bach the violin (“Johann Sebastian Bach Biography”). At school, Bach studied Latin and other areas and obtained a religious education. The Lutheran faith affected his later musical compositions (Medňanský 4). The elder brother Christoph also influenced Bach’s creations; he adopted him after their parents’ death when Johann was ten years old (Marshall and Emery). Christophe worked as a church organist and provided musical instruction to his younger brother. Further, the soprano Bach’s incredible voice helped him get to school in Luneburg, where the local organist George Boehm also had a significant impact on Johann.

At the beginning of his musical career, Bach liked to mix a variety of melodic lines together and create complex arrangements. One of Bach’s most famous compositions, which he wrote at this time, is the cantata “Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit” or “Actus Tragicus” as it is also called (Marshall and Emery). In the Church of St. Blasius, where he worked as an organist, his views on music differed from the church pastor’s perspectives, who believed that it should be less complicated in such places.

At the court of Duke Wilhelm Ernst Bach received the post of organist in Weimar. During this period, he produced many ecclesiastical works and several of his best creations. In particular, “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” is one of Bach’s most famous pieces for the organ (“Johann Sebastian Bach Biography”). In addition, he also created the cantata “Heart and Mouth and Deed” or “Herz und Mund und Tat” (“Johann Sebastian Bach Biography”). Particularly noteworthy is the section of this composition, which in translation from German is called “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.”

During Johann’s work with the Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen, the latter liked Bach’s music to such an extent that he did not want to him to leave and even imprisoned him for several weeks. However, the prince still had to let go Johann, and he went to study at Cöthen. During this time, Bach spent much time practicing to instrumental music, creating dance suites, concertos for orchestras, and sonatas for several instruments. He has composed some orchestral concerts, also known as the “Brandenburg Concertos.” These compositions are named after the Duke of Brandenburg and are recognized as some of the wonderful in Bach’s work.

Johann also created pieces for solo instruments, including some of the best pieces for the violin. He often left on his notes the Latin initials INJ, which stands for In Nomine Jesu (Marshall and Emery). Moreover, Bach wrote musical biblical interpretations using arias, choruses, and recitations. These compositions are called his “Passions,” the most famous of which is “Passion According to St. Matthew ” (Libby 1304). This work describes chapters 26 and 27 found in the Gospel of Matthew (“Johann Sebastian Bach Biography”). The piece was executed within the framework of the Good Friday service.

To summarize, Bach is a truly great composer and organist who has created many compositions that are known today, centuries later. At the same time, his musical roots and his father and brother’s training had a particular influence on him. Apart from it, other organists such as George Boehm influenced his work. Pastors did not always accept his music with complex lines and arrangements, but this did not prevent him from creating significant compositions on religious themes. Bach was also a wonderful storyteller, using melody to describe events or actions.

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Works Cited

“Johann Sebastian Bach Biography”. The Biography, A&E Television Networks, 2020, Web.

Libby, Peter. “Johann Sebastian Bach: A healer in his time”. Circulation Research, vol. 124, no. 9, 2019, pp. 1303-1308. Web.

Marshall, Robert L., and Emery, Walter. “Johann Sebastian Bach”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 2020. Web.

Medňanský, Karol. “1. Period Influence on the Work of Johann Sebastian Bach”. Review of Artistic Education, vol. 19, no. 1, 2020, pp. 1-9. Web.

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