Johann Sebastian Bach

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"Bach" redirects here. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_0

For Bach's grandson, see Johann Sebastian Bach (painter). Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_1

For his musical family, see Bach family. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_2

For the TV series, see Johann Sebastian Bach (TV series). Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_3

For other uses, see Bach (disambiguation). Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_4

Johann Sebastian Bach_table_infobox_0

Johann Sebastian BachJohann Sebastian Bach_header_cell_0_0_0
BornJohann Sebastian Bach_header_cell_0_1_0 21 March 1685 (O.S.)

31 March 1685 (1685-03-31) (N.S.) EisenachJohann Sebastian Bach_cell_0_1_1

DiedJohann Sebastian Bach_header_cell_0_2_0 28 July 1750(1750-07-28) (aged 65)

LeipzigJohann Sebastian Bach_cell_0_2_1

WorksJohann Sebastian Bach_header_cell_0_3_0 List of compositionsJohann Sebastian Bach_cell_0_3_1
SignatureJohann Sebastian Bach_header_cell_0_4_0

Johann Sebastian Bach (31 March O.S. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_5

21 March] 1685 – 28 July 1750) was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_6

He is known for instrumental compositions such as the Brandenburg Concertos and the Goldberg Variations, and for vocal music such as the St Matthew Passion and the Mass in B minor. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_7

Since the 19th-century Bach Revival, he has been generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_8

The Bach family already counted several composers when Johann Sebastian was born as the last child of a city musician in Eisenach. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_9

After being orphaned at age 10, he lived for five years with his eldest brother Johann Christoph, after which he continued his musical formation in Lüneburg. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_10

From 1703 he was back in Thuringia, working as a musician for Protestant churches in Arnstadt and Mühlhausen and, for longer stretches of time, at courts in Weimar, where he expanded his organ repertory, and Köthen, where he was mostly engaged with chamber music. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_11

From 1723 he was employed as Thomaskantor (cantor at St. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_12 Thomas) in Leipzig. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_13

He composed music for the principal Lutheran churches of the city, and for its university's student ensemble Collegium Musicum. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_14

From 1726 he published some of his keyboard and organ music. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_15

In Leipzig, as had happened during some of his earlier positions, he had difficult relations with his employer, a situation that was little remedied when he was granted the title of court composer by his sovereign, Augustus, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, in 1736. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_16

In the last decades of his life he reworked and extended many of his earlier compositions. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_17

He died of complications after eye surgery in 1750 at the age of 65. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_18

Bach enriched established German styles through his mastery of counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and his adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_19

Bach's compositions include hundreds of cantatas, both sacred and secular. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_20

He composed Latin church music, Passions, oratorios, and motets. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_21

He often adopted Lutheran hymns, not only in his larger vocal works, but for instance also in his four-part chorales and his sacred songs. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_22

He wrote extensively for organ and for other keyboard instruments. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_23

He composed concertos, for instance for violin and for harpsichord, and suites, as chamber music as well as for orchestra. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_24

Many of his works employ the genres of canon and fugue. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_25

Throughout the 18th century Bach was primarily valued as an organist, while his keyboard music, such as The Well-Tempered Clavier, was appreciated for its didactic qualities. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_26

The 19th century saw the publication of some major Bach biographies, and by the end of that century all of his known music had been printed. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_27

Dissemination of scholarship on the composer continued through periodicals (and later also websites) exclusively devoted to him, and other publications such as the Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (BWV, a numbered catalogue of his works) and new critical editions of his compositions. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_28

His music was further popularised through a multitude of arrangements, including, for instance, the Air on the G String, and of recordings, such as three different box sets with complete performances of the composer's oeuvre marking the 250th anniversary of his death. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_29

Life Johann Sebastian Bach_section_0

Bach was born in 1685 in Eisenach, in the duchy of Saxe-Eisenach, into an extensive musical family. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_30

His father, Johann Ambrosius Bach, was the director of the town musicians, and all of his uncles were professional musicians. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_31

His father probably taught him to play the violin and harpsichord, and his brother Johann Christoph Bach taught him the clavichord and exposed him to much of the contemporary music. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_32

Apparently on his own initiative, Bach attended St. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_33 Michael's School in Lüneburg for two years. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_34

After graduating, he held several musical posts across Germany, including Kapellmeister (director of music) to Leopold, Prince of Anhalt-Köthen, and Thomaskantor in Leipzig, a position of music director at the main Lutheran churches and educator at the Thomasschule. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_35

He received the title of "Royal Court Composer" from Augustus III in 1736. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_36

Bach's health and vision declined in 1749, and he died on 28 July 1750. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_37

Childhood (1685–1703) Johann Sebastian Bach_section_1

See also: Bach family Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_38

Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach, the capital of the duchy of Saxe-Eisenach, in present-day Germany, on 21 March 1685 O.S. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_39

(31 March 1685 N.S.). Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_40

He was the son of Johann Ambrosius Bach, the director of the town musicians, and Maria Elisabeth Lämmerhirt. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_41

He was the eighth and youngest child of Johann Ambrosius, who likely taught him violin and basic music theory. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_42

His uncles were all professional musicians, whose posts included church organists, court chamber musicians, and composers. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_43

One uncle, Johann Christoph Bach (1645–1693), introduced him to the organ, and an older second cousin, Johann Ludwig Bach (1677–1731), was a well-known composer and violinist. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_44

Bach's mother died in 1694, and his father died eight months later. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_45

The 10-year-old Bach moved in with his eldest brother, Johann Christoph Bach (1671–1721), the organist at St. Michael's Church in Ohrdruf, Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_46

There he studied, performed, and copied music, including his own brother's, despite being forbidden to do so because scores were so valuable and private, and blank ledger paper of that type was costly. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_47

He received valuable teaching from his brother, who instructed him on the clavichord. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_48

J. C. Bach exposed him to the works of great composers of the day, including South German composers such as Johann Pachelbel (under whom Johann Christoph had studied) and Johann Jakob Froberger; North German composers; Frenchmen, such as Jean-Baptiste Lully, Louis Marchand, and Marin Marais; and the Italian clavierist Girolamo Frescobaldi. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_49

Also during this time, he was taught theology, Latin, Greek, French, and Italian at the local gymnasium. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_50

By 3 April 1700, Bach and his schoolfriend Georg Erdmann—who was two years Bach's elder—were enrolled in the prestigious St. Michael's School in Lüneburg, some two weeks' travel north of Ohrdruf. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_51

Their journey was probably undertaken mostly on foot. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_52

His two years there were critical in exposing Bach to a wider range of European culture. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_53

In addition to singing in the choir, he played the school's three-manual organ and harpsichords. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_54

He came into contact with sons of aristocrats from northern Germany who were sent to the highly selective school to prepare for careers in other disciplines. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_55

While in Lüneburg, Bach had access to St. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_56 John's Church and possibly used the church's famous organ from 1553, since it was played by his organ teacher Georg Böhm. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_57

Because of his musical talent, Bach had significant contact with Böhm while a student in Lüneburg, and he also took trips to nearby Hamburg where he observed "the great North German organist Johann Adam Reincken". Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_58

Stauffer reports the discovery in 2005 of the organ tablatures that Bach wrote, while still in his teens, of works by Reincken and Dieterich Buxtehude, showing "a disciplined, methodical, well-trained teenager deeply committed to learning his craft". Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_59

Weimar, Arnstadt, and Mühlhausen (1703–1708) Johann Sebastian Bach_section_2

In January 1703, shortly after graduating from St. Michael's and being turned down for the post of organist at Sangerhausen, Bach was appointed court musician in the chapel of Duke Johann Ernst III in Weimar. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_60

His role there is unclear, but it probably included menial, non-musical duties. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_61

During his seven-month tenure at Weimar, his reputation as a keyboardist spread so much that he was invited to inspect the new organ and give the inaugural recital at the New Church (now Bach Church) in Arnstadt, located about 30 kilometres (19 mi) southwest of Weimar. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_62

In August 1703, he became the organist at the New Church, with light duties, a relatively generous salary, and a new organ tuned in a temperament that allowed music written in a wider range of keys to be played. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_63

Despite strong family connections and a musically enthusiastic employer, tension built up between Bach and the authorities after several years in the post. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_64

Bach was dissatisfied with the standard of singers in the choir. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_65

He called one of them a "Zippel Fagottist" ( bassoon player). Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_66

Late one evening this student, named Geyersbach, went after Bach with a stick. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_67

Bach filed a complaint against Geyersbach with the authorities. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_68

They acquitted Geyersbach with a minor reprimand and ordered Bach to be more moderate regarding the musical qualities he expected from his students. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_69

Some months later Bach upset his employer by a prolonged absence from Arnstadt: after obtaining leave for four weeks, he was absent for around four months in 1705–1706 to visit the organist and composer Dieterich Buxtehude in the northern city of Lübeck. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_70

The visit to Buxtehude involved a 450-kilometre (280 mi) journey each way, reportedly on foot. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_71

In 1706, Bach applied for a post as organist at the Blasius Church in Mühlhausen. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_72

As part of his application, he had a cantata performed on Easter, 24 April 1707, likely an early version of his Christ lag in Todes Banden. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_73

A month later Bach's application was accepted and he took up the post in July. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_74

The position included significantly higher remuneration, improved conditions, and a better choir. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_75

Four months after arriving at Mühlhausen, Bach married Maria Barbara Bach, his second cousin. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_76

Bach was able to convince the church and town government at Mühlhausen to fund an expensive renovation of the organ at the Blasius Church. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_77

In 1708 Bach wrote Gott ist mein König, a festive cantata for the inauguration of the new council, which was published at the council's expense. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_78

Return to Weimar (1708–1717) Johann Sebastian Bach_section_3

Further information: Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten! Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_79 BWV 172 § Background Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_80

Bach left Mühlhausen in 1708, returning to Weimar this time as organist and from 1714 Konzertmeister (director of music) at the ducal court, where he had an opportunity to work with a large, well-funded contingent of professional musicians. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_81

Bach and his wife moved into a house close to the ducal palace. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_82

Later the same year, their first child, Catharina Dorothea, was born, and Maria Barbara's elder, unmarried sister joined them. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_83

She remained to help run the household until her death in 1729. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_84

Three sons were also born in Weimar: Wilhelm Friedemann, Carl Philipp Emanuel, and Johann Gottfried Bernhard. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_85

Johann Sebastian and Maria Barbara had three more children, who however did not live to their first birthday, including twins born in 1713. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_86

Bach's time in Weimar was the start of a sustained period of composing keyboard and orchestral works. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_87

He attained the proficiency and confidence to extend the prevailing structures and include influences from abroad. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_88

He learned to write dramatic openings and employ the dynamic rhythms and harmonic schemes found in the music of Italians such as Vivaldi, Corelli, and Torelli. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_89

Bach absorbed these stylistic aspects in part by transcribing Vivaldi's string and wind concertos for harpsichord and organ; many of these transcribed works are still regularly performed. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_90

Bach was particularly attracted to the Italian style, in which one or more solo instruments alternate section-by-section with the full orchestra throughout a movement. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_91

In Weimar, Bach continued to play and compose for the organ and perform concert music with the duke's ensemble. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_92

He also began to write the preludes and fugues which were later assembled into his monumental work The Well-Tempered Clavier ("clavier" meaning clavichord or harpsichord), consisting of two books, each containing 24 preludes and fugues in every major and minor key. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_93

Bach also started work on the Little Organ Book in Weimar, containing traditional Lutheran chorale tunes set in complex textures. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_94

In 1713, Bach was offered a post in Halle when he advised the authorities during a renovation by Christoph Cuntzius of the main organ in the west gallery of the Market Church of Our Dear Lady. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_95

In the spring of 1714, Bach was promoted to Konzertmeister, an honour that entailed performing a church cantata monthly in the castle church. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_96

The first three cantatas in the new series Bach composed in Weimar were Himmelskönig, sei willkommen, BWV 182, for Palm Sunday, which coincided with the Annunciation that year; Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen, BWV 12, for Jubilate Sunday; and Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten! Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_97 BWV 172 for Pentecost. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_98

Bach's first Christmas cantata, Christen, ätzet diesen Tag, BWV 63, was premiered in 1714 or 1715. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_99

In 1717, Bach eventually fell out of favour in Weimar and, according to a translation of the court secretary's report, was jailed for almost a month before being unfavourably dismissed: "On November 6, , the quondam concertmaster and organist Bach was confined to the County Judge's place of detention for too stubbornly forcing the issue of his dismissal and finally on December 2 was freed from arrest with notice of his unfavourable discharge." Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_100

Köthen (1717–1723) Johann Sebastian Bach_section_4

Leopold, Prince of Anhalt-Köthen, hired Bach to serve as his Kapellmeister (director of music) in 1717. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_101

Prince Leopold, himself a musician, appreciated Bach's talents, paid him well and gave him considerable latitude in composing and performing. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_102

The prince was a Calvinist and did not use elaborate music in his worship; accordingly, most of Bach's work from this period was secular, including the orchestral suites, cello suites, sonatas and partitas for solo violin, and Brandenburg Concertos. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_103

Bach also composed secular cantatas for the court, such as Die Zeit, die Tag und Jahre macht, BWV 134a. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_104

A significant influence upon Bach's musical development during his years with the prince is recorded by Stauffer as Bach's "complete embrace of dance music, perhaps the most important influence on his mature style other than his adoption of Vivaldi's music in Weimar." Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_105

Despite being born in the same year and only about 130 kilometres (80 mi) apart, Bach and Handel never met. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_106

In 1719, Bach made the 35-kilometre (22 mi) journey from Köthen to Halle with the intention of meeting Handel; however, Handel had left the town. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_107

In 1730, Bach's oldest son, Wilhelm Friedemann, travelled to Halle to invite Handel to visit the Bach family in Leipzig, but the visit did not take place. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_108

On 7 July 1720, while Bach was away in Carlsbad with Prince Leopold, Bach's wife suddenly died. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_109

The following year, he met Anna Magdalena Wilcke, a young, highly gifted soprano 16 years his junior, who performed at the court in Köthen; they married on 3 December 1721. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_110

Together they had 13 more children, 6 of whom survived into adulthood: Gottfried Heinrich; Elisabeth Juliane Friederica (1726–1781); Johann Christoph Friedrich and Johann Christian, who both, especially Johann Christian, became significant musicians; Johanna Carolina (1737–1781); and Regina Susanna (1742–1809). Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_111

Leipzig (1723–1750) Johann Sebastian Bach_section_5

In 1723, Bach was appointed Thomaskantor, Cantor of the Thomasschule at the Thomaskirche (St. Thomas Church) in Leipzig, which provided music for four churches in the city: the Thomaskirche and Nikolaikirche (St. Nicholas Church) and to a lesser extent the Neue Kirche (New Church) and Peterskirche (St. Peter's Church). Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_112

This was "the leading cantorate in Protestant Germany", located in the mercantile city in the Electorate of Saxony, which he held for 27 years until his death. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_113

During that time he gained further prestige through honorary appointments at the courts of Köthen and Weissenfels, as well as that of the Elector Frederick Augustus (who was also King of Poland) in Dresden. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_114

Bach frequently disagreed with his employer, Leipzig's city council, which he regarded as "penny-pinching". Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_115

Appointment in Leipzig Johann Sebastian Bach_section_6

Johann Kuhnau had been Thomaskantor in Leipzig from 1701 until his death on 5 June 1722. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_116

Bach had visited Leipzig during Kuhnau's tenure: in 1714 he attended the service at the St. Thomas Church on the first Sunday of Advent, and in 1717 he had tested the organ of the Paulinerkirche. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_117

In 1716 Bach and Kuhnau had met on the occasion of the testing and inauguration of an organ in Halle. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_118

After being offered the position, Bach was invited to Leipzig only after Georg Philipp Telemann indicated that he would not be interested in relocating to Leipzig. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_119

Telemann went to Hamburg, where he "had his own struggles with the city's senate". Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_120

Bach was required to instruct the students of the Thomasschule in singing and provide church music for the main churches in Leipzig. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_121

He was also assigned to teach Latin but was allowed to employ four "prefects" (deputies) to do this instead. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_122

The prefects also aided with musical instruction. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_123

A cantata was required for the church services on Sundays and additional church holidays during the liturgical year. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_124

Cantata cycle years (1723–1729) Johann Sebastian Bach_section_7

Bach usually led performances of his cantatas, most of which were composed within three years of his relocation to Leipzig. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_125

The first was Die Elenden sollen essen, BWV 75, performed in the Nikolaikirche on 30 May 1723, the first Sunday after Trinity. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_126

Bach collected his cantatas in annual cycles. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_127

Five are mentioned in obituaries, three are extant. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_128

Of the more than 300 cantatas which Bach composed in Leipzig, over 100 have been lost to posterity. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_129

Most of these works expound on the Gospel readings prescribed for every Sunday and feast day in the Lutheran year. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_130

Bach started a second annual cycle the first Sunday after Trinity of 1724 and composed only chorale cantatas, each based on a single church hymn. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_131

These include O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort, BWV 20, Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 140, Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 62, and Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, BWV 1. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_132

Bach drew the soprano and alto choristers from the school and the tenors and basses from the school and elsewhere in Leipzig. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_133

Performing at weddings and funerals provided extra income for these groups; it was probably for this purpose, and for in-school training, that he wrote at least six motets. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_134

As part of his regular church work, he performed other composers' motets, which served as formal models for his own. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_135

Bach's predecessor as cantor, Johann Kuhnau, had also been music director for the Paulinerkirche, the church of Leipzig University. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_136

But when Bach was installed as cantor in 1723, he was put in charge only of music for festal (church holiday) services at the Paulinerkirche; his petition to also provide music for regular Sunday services there (for a corresponding salary increase) went all the way to the Elector but was denied. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_137

After this, in 1725, Bach "lost interest" in working even for festal services at the Paulinerkirche and appeared there only on "special occasions". Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_138

The Paulinerkirche had a much better and newer (1716) organ than did the Thomaskirche or the Nikolaikirche. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_139

Bach was not required to play any organ in his official duties, but it is believed he liked to play on the Paulinerkirche organ "for his own pleasure". Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_140

Bach broadened his composing and performing beyond the liturgy by taking over, in March 1729, the directorship of the Collegium Musicum, a secular performance ensemble started by Telemann. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_141

This was one of the dozens of private societies in the major German-speaking cities that were established by musically active university students; these societies had become increasingly important in public musical life and were typically led by the most prominent professionals in a city. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_142

In the words of Christoph Wolff, assuming the directorship was a shrewd move that "consolidated Bach's firm grip on Leipzig's principal musical institutions". Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_143

Year round, Leipzig's Collegium Musicum performed regularly in venues such as the Café Zimmermann, a coffeehouse on Catherine Street off the main market square. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_144

Many of Bach's works during the 1730s and 1740s were written for and performed by the Collegium Musicum; among these were parts of his Clavier-Übung (Keyboard Practice) and many of his violin and keyboard concertos. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_145

Middle years of the Leipzig period (1730–1739) Johann Sebastian Bach_section_8

In 1733, Bach composed a Kyrie–Gloria Mass in B minor which he later incorporated in his Mass in B minor. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_146

He presented the manuscript to the Elector in an eventually successful bid to persuade the prince to give him the title of Court Composer. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_147

He later extended this work into a full mass by adding a Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei, the music for which was partly based on his own cantatas and partly original. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_148

Bach's appointment as Court Composer was an element of his long-term struggle to achieve greater bargaining power with the Leipzig council. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_149

Between 1737 and 1739, Bach's former pupil Carl Gotthelf Gerlach held the directorship of the Collegium Musicum. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_150

In 1735 Bach started to prepare his first publication of organ music, which was printed as the third Clavier-Übung in 1739. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_151

From around that year he started to compile and compose the set of preludes and fugues for harpsichord that would become his second book of The Well-Tempered Clavier. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_152

Final years and death (1740–1750) Johann Sebastian Bach_section_9

From 1740 to 1748 Bach copied, transcribed, expanded or programmed music in an older polyphonic style (stile antico) by, among others, Palestrina (BNB I/P/2), Kerll (BWV 241), Torri (BWV Anh. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_153 30), Bassani (BWV 1081), Gasparini (Missa Canonica) and Caldara (BWV 1082). Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_154

Bach's own style shifted in the last decade of his life, showing an increased integration of polyphonic structures and canons and other elements of the stile antico. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_155

His fourth and last Clavier-Übung volume, the Goldberg Variations, for two-manual harpsichord, contained nine canons and was published in 1741. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_156

Throughout this period, Bach also continued to adopt music of contemporaries such as Handel (BNB I/K/2) and Stölzel (BWV 200), and gave many of his own earlier compositions, such as the St Matthew and St John Passions and the Great Eighteen Chorale Preludes, their final revisions. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_157

He also programmed and adapted music by composers of a younger generation, including Pergolesi (BWV 1083) and his own students such as Goldberg (BNB I/G/2). Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_158

In 1746 Bach was preparing to enter Lorenz Christoph Mizler's Society of Musical Sciences []. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_159

In order to be admitted Bach had to submit a composition, for which he chose his Canonic Variations on "Vom Himmel hoch da komm' ich her", and a portrait, which was painted by Elias Gottlob Haussmann and featured Bach's Canon triplex á 6 Voc. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_160

In May 1747, Bach visited the court of King Frederick II of Prussia in Potsdam. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_161

The king played a theme for Bach and challenged him to improvise a fugue based on his theme. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_162

Bach obliged, playing a three-part fugue on one of Frederick's fortepianos, which was a new type of instrument at the time. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_163

Upon his return to Leipzig he composed a set of fugues and canons, and a trio sonata, based on the Thema Regium (theme of the king). Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_164

Within a few weeks this music was published as The Musical Offering and dedicated to Frederick. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_165

The Schübler Chorales, a set of six chorale preludes transcribed from cantata movements Bach had composed some two decades earlier, were published within a year. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_166

Around the same time, the set of five canonic variations which Bach had submitted when entering Mizler's society in 1747 were also printed. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_167

Two large-scale compositions occupied a central place in Bach's last years. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_168

From around 1742 he wrote and revised the various canons and fugues of The Art of Fugue, which he continued to prepare for publication until shortly before his death. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_169

After extracting a cantata, BWV 191, from his 1733 Kyrie-Gloria Mass for the Dresden court in the mid 1740s, Bach expanded that setting into his Mass in B minor in the last years of his life. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_170

Stauffer describes it as "Bach's most universal church work. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_171

Consisting mainly of recycled movements from cantatas written over a thirty-five-year period, it allowed Bach to survey his vocal pieces one last time and pick select movements for further revision and refinement." Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_172

Although the complete mass was never performed during the composer's lifetime, it is considered to be among the greatest choral works in history. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_173

In January 1749, Bach's daughter Elisabeth Juliane Friederica married his pupil Johann Christoph Altnickol. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_174

Bach's health was, however, declining. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_175

On 2 June, Heinrich von Brühl wrote to one of the Leipzig burgomasters to request that his music director, Johann Gottlob Harrer, fill the Thomaskantor and Director musices posts "upon the eventual ... decease of Mr. Bach". Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_176

Becoming blind, Bach underwent eye surgery, in March 1750 and again in April, by the British eye surgeon John Taylor, a man widely understood today as a charlatan and believed to have blinded hundreds of people. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_177

Bach died on 28 July 1750 from complications due to the unsuccessful treatment. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_178

An inventory drawn up a few months after Bach's death shows that his estate included five harpsichords, two lute-harpsichords, three violins, three violas, two cellos, a viola da gamba, a lute and a spinet, along with 52 "sacred books", including works by Martin Luther and Josephus. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_179

The composer's son Carl Philipp Emanuel saw to it that The Art of Fugue, although still unfinished, was published in 1751. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_180

Together with one of the composer's former students, Johann Friedrich Agricola, the son also wrote the obituary ("Nekrolog"), which was published in Mizler's Musikalische Bibliothek [], the organ of the Society of Musical Sciences, in 1754. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_181

Musical style Johann Sebastian Bach_section_10

See also: List of compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_182

From an early age, Bach studied the works of his musical contemporaries of the Baroque period and those of prior generations, and those influences were reflected in his music. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_183

Like his contemporaries Handel, Telemann and Vivaldi, Bach composed concertos, suites, recitatives, da capo arias, and four-part choral music and employed basso continuo. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_184

Bach's music was harmonically more innovative than his peer composers, employing surprisingly dissonant chords and progressions, often with extensive exploration of harmonic possibilities within one piece. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_185

The hundreds of sacred works Bach created are usually seen as manifesting not just his craft but also a truly devout relationship with God. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_186

He had taught Luther's Small Catechism as the Thomaskantor in Leipzig, and some of his pieces represent it. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_187

The Lutheran chorale was the basis of much of his work. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_188

In elaborating these hymns into his chorale preludes, he wrote more cogent and tightly integrated works than most, even when they were massive and lengthy. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_189

The large-scale structure of every major Bach sacred vocal work is evidence of subtle, elaborate planning to create a religiously and musically powerful expression. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_190

For example, the St Matthew Passion, like other works of its kind, illustrated the Passion with Bible text reflected in recitatives, arias, choruses, and chorales, but in crafting this work, Bach created an overall experience that has been found over the intervening centuries to be both musically thrilling and spiritually profound. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_191

Bach published or carefully compiled in manuscript many collections of pieces that explored the range of artistic and technical possibilities inherent in almost every genre of his time except opera. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_192

For example, The Well-Tempered Clavier comprises two books, each of which presents a prelude and fugue in every major and minor key, displaying a dizzying variety of structural, contrapuntal and fugal techniques. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_193

Four-part harmony Johann Sebastian Bach_section_11

Four-part harmonies predate Bach, but he lived during a time when modal music in Western tradition was largely supplanted in favour of the tonal system. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_194

In this system a piece of music progresses from one chord to the next according to certain rules, each chord being characterised by four notes. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_195

The principles of four-part harmony are found not only in Bach's four-part choral music: he also prescribes it for instance for the figured bass accompaniment. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_196

The new system was at the core of Bach's style, and his compositions are to a large extent considered as laying down the rules for the evolving scheme that would dominate musical expression in the next centuries. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_197

Some examples of this characteristic of Bach's style and its influence: Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_198

Johann Sebastian Bach_unordered_list_0

  • When in the 1740s Bach staged his arrangement of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, he upgraded the viola part (which in the original composition plays in unison with the bass part) to fill out the harmony, thus adapting the composition to his four-part harmony style.Johann Sebastian Bach_item_0_0
  • When, starting in the 19th century in Russia, there was a discussion about the authenticity of four-part court chant settings compared to earlier Russian traditions, Bach's four-part chorale settings, such as those ending his Chorale cantatas, were considered as foreign-influenced models. Such influence was deemed unavoidable, however.Johann Sebastian Bach_item_0_1

Bach's insistence on the tonal system and contribution to shaping it did not imply he was less at ease with the older modal system and the genres associated with it: more than his contemporaries (who had "moved on" to the tonal system without much exception), Bach often returned to the then-antiquated modi and genres. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_199

His Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, emulating the chromatic fantasia genre as used by earlier composers such as Dowland and Sweelinck in D dorian mode (comparable to D minor in the tonal system), is an example of this. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_200

Modulation Johann Sebastian Bach_section_12

Modulation, or changing key in the course of a piece, is another style characteristic where Bach goes beyond what was usual in his time. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_201

Baroque instruments vastly limited modulation possibilities: keyboard instruments, prior to a workable system of temperament, limited the keys that could be modulated to, and wind instruments, especially brass instruments such as trumpets and horns, about a century before they were fitted with valves, were tied to the key of their tuning. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_202

Bach pushed the limits: he added "strange tones" in his organ playing, confusing the singing, according to an indictment he had to face in Arnstadt, and Louis Marchand, another early experimenter with modulation, seems to have avoided confrontation with Bach because the latter went further than anyone had done before. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_203

In the "Suscepit Israel" of his 1723 Magnificat, he had the trumpets in E-flat play a melody in the enharmonic scale of C minor. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_204

The major development taking place in Bach's time, and to which he contributed in no small way, was a temperament for keyboard instruments that allowed their use in all available keys (12 major and 12 minor) and also modulation without retuning. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_205

His Capriccio on the departure of a beloved brother, a very early work, showed a gusto for modulation unlike any contemporary work this composition has been compared to, but the full expansion came with the Well-Tempered Clavier, using all keys, which Bach apparently had been developing since around 1720, the Klavierbüchlein für Wilhelm Friedemann Bach being one of its earliest examples. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_206

Ornamentation Johann Sebastian Bach_section_13

The second page of the Klavierbüchlein für Wilhelm Friedemann Bach is an ornament notation and performance guide that Bach wrote for his eldest son, who was nine years old at the time. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_207

Bach was generally quite specific on ornamentation in his compositions (where in his time much of the ornamentation was not written out by composers but rather considered a liberty of the performer), and his ornamentation was often quite elaborate. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_208

For instance, the "Aria" of the Goldberg Variations has rich ornamentation in nearly every measure. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_209

Bach's dealing with ornamentation can also be seen in a keyboard arrangement he made of Marcello's Oboe Concerto: he added explicit ornamentation, which some centuries later is played by oboists when performing the concerto. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_210

Although Bach did not write any operas, he was not averse to the genre or its ornamented vocal style. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_211

In church music, Italian composers had imitated the operatic vocal style in genres such as the Neapolitan mass. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_212

In Protestant surroundings, there was more reluctance to adopt such a style for liturgical music. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_213

For instance, Kuhnau, Bach's predecessor in Leipzig, had notoriously shunned opera and Italian virtuoso vocal music. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_214

Bach was less moved. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_215

One of the comments after a performance of his St Matthew Passion was that it all sounded much like opera. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_216

Giving soloist roles to continuo instruments Johann Sebastian Bach_section_14

In concerted playing in Bach's time the basso continuo, consisting of instruments such as organ, viola da gamba or harpsichord, usually had the role of accompaniment, providing the harmonic and rhythmic foundation of a piece. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_217

From the late 1720s, Bach had the organ play concertante (i.e. as a soloist) with the orchestra in instrumental cantata movements, a decade before Handel published his first organ concertos. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_218

Apart from the 5th Brandenburg Concerto and the Triple Concerto, which already had harpsichord soloists in the 1720s, Bach wrote and arranged his harpsichord concertos in the 1730s, and in his sonatas for viola da gamba and harpsichord neither instrument plays a continuo part: they are treated as equal soloists, far beyond the figured bass. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_219

In this sense, Bach played a key role in the development of genres such as the keyboard concerto. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_220

Instrumentation Johann Sebastian Bach_section_15

Bach wrote virtuoso music for specific instruments as well as music independent of instrumentation. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_221

For instance, the sonatas and partitas for solo violin are considered the pinnacle of what has been written for this instrument, only within reach of accomplished players. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_222

The music fits the instrument, pushing it to the full scale of its possibilities and requiring virtuosity of the player but without bravura. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_223

Notwithstanding that the music and the instrument seem inseparable, Bach made transcriptions for other instruments of some pieces of this collection. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_224

Similarly, for the cello suites, the virtuoso music seems tailored for the instrument, the best of what is offered for it, yet Bach made an arrangement for lute of one of these suites. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_225

The same applies to much of his most virtuoso keyboard music. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_226

Bach exploited the capabilities of an instrument to the fullest while keeping the core of such music independent of the instrument on which it is performed. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_227

In this sense, it is no surprise that Bach's music is easily and often performed on instruments it was not necessarily written for, that it is transcribed so often, and that his melodies turn up in unexpected places such as jazz music. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_228

Apart from this, Bach left a number of compositions without specified instrumentation: the canons BWV 1072–1078 fall in that category, as well as the bulk of the Musical Offering and the Art of Fugue. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_229

Counterpoint Johann Sebastian Bach_section_16

See also: List of fugal works by Johann Sebastian Bach Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_230

Another characteristic of Bach's style is his extensive use of counterpoint, as opposed to the homophony used in his four-part Chorale settings, for example. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_231

Bach's canons, and especially his fugues, are most characteristic of this style, which Bach did not invent but contributed to so fundamentally that he defined it to a large extent. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_232

Fugues are as characteristic to Bach's style as, for instance, the Sonata form is characteristic to the composers of the Classical period. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_233

These strictly contrapuntal compositions, and most of Bach's music in general, are characterised by distinct melodic lines for each of the voices, where the chords formed by the notes sounding at a given point follow the rules of four-part harmony. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_234

Forkel, Bach's first biographer, gives this description of this feature of Bach's music, which sets it apart from most other music: Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_235

Structure and lyrics Johann Sebastian Bach_section_17

Bach devoted more attention than his contemporaries to the structure of compositions. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_236

This can be seen in minor adjustments he made when adapting someone else's composition, such as his earliest version of the "Keiser" St Mark Passion, where he enhances scene transitions, and in the architecture of his own compositions such as his Magnificat and Leipzig Passions. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_237

In the last years of his life, Bach revised several of his prior compositions. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_238

Often the recasting of such previously composed music in an enhanced structure was the most visible change, as in the Mass in B minor. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_239

Bach's known preoccupation with structure led (peaking around the 1970s) to various numerological analyses of his compositions, although many such over-interpretations were later rejected, especially when wandering off into symbolism-ridden hermeneutics. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_240

The librettos, or lyrics, of his vocal compositions played an important role for Bach. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_241

He sought collaboration with various text authors for his cantatas and major vocal compositions, possibly writing or adapting such texts himself to make them fit the structure of the composition he was designing when he could not rely on the talents of other text authors. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_242

His collaboration with Picander for the St Matthew Passion libretto is best known, but there was a similar process in achieving a multi-layered structure for his St John Passion libretto a few years earlier. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_243

Compositions Johann Sebastian Bach_section_18

See also: List of compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach and List of fugal works by Johann Sebastian Bach Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_244

In 1950, Wolfgang Schmieder published a thematic catalogue of Bach's compositions called the Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (Bach Works Catalogue). Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_245

Schmieder largely followed the Bach-Gesellschaft-Ausgabe, a comprehensive edition of the composer's works that was produced between 1850 and 1900. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_246

The first edition of the catalogue listed 1,080 surviving compositions indisputably composed by Bach. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_247

Johann Sebastian Bach_table_general_1

BWV RangeJohann Sebastian Bach_header_cell_1_0_0 CompositionsJohann Sebastian Bach_header_cell_1_0_1
BWV 1–224Johann Sebastian Bach_cell_1_1_0 CantatasJohann Sebastian Bach_cell_1_1_1
BWV 225–231Johann Sebastian Bach_cell_1_2_0 MotetsJohann Sebastian Bach_cell_1_2_1
BWV 232–243Johann Sebastian Bach_cell_1_3_0 Liturgical compositions in LatinJohann Sebastian Bach_cell_1_3_1
BWV 244–249Johann Sebastian Bach_cell_1_4_0 Passions and oratoriosJohann Sebastian Bach_cell_1_4_1
BWV 250–438Johann Sebastian Bach_cell_1_5_0 Four-part choralesJohann Sebastian Bach_cell_1_5_1
BWV 439–524Johann Sebastian Bach_cell_1_6_0 Small vocal worksJohann Sebastian Bach_cell_1_6_1
BWV 525–771Johann Sebastian Bach_cell_1_7_0 Organ compositionsJohann Sebastian Bach_cell_1_7_1
BWV 772–994Johann Sebastian Bach_cell_1_8_0 Other keyboard worksJohann Sebastian Bach_cell_1_8_1
BWV 995–1000Johann Sebastian Bach_cell_1_9_0 Lute compositionsJohann Sebastian Bach_cell_1_9_1
BWV 1001–1040Johann Sebastian Bach_cell_1_10_0 Other chamber musicJohann Sebastian Bach_cell_1_10_1
BWV 1041–1071Johann Sebastian Bach_cell_1_11_0 Orchestral musicJohann Sebastian Bach_cell_1_11_1
BWV 1072–1078Johann Sebastian Bach_cell_1_12_0 CanonsJohann Sebastian Bach_cell_1_12_1
BWV 1079–1080Johann Sebastian Bach_cell_1_13_0 Late contrapuntal worksJohann Sebastian Bach_cell_1_13_1

BWV 1081–1126 were added to the catalogue in the second half of the 20th century, and BWV 1127 and higher were still later additions. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_248

Passions and oratorios Johann Sebastian Bach_section_19

See also: List of masses, passions and oratorios by Johann Sebastian Bach § Passions and oratorios Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_249

Bach composed Passions for Good Friday services and oratorios such as the Christmas Oratorio, which is a set of six cantatas for use in the liturgical season of Christmas. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_250

Shorter oratorios are the Easter Oratorio and the Ascension Oratorio. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_251

St Matthew Passion Johann Sebastian Bach_section_20

See also: St Matthew Passion Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_252

With its double choir and orchestra, the St Matthew Passion is one of Bach's most extended works. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_253

St John Passion Johann Sebastian Bach_section_21

See also: St John Passion Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_254

The St John Passion was the first Passion Bach composed during his tenure as Thomaskantor in Leipzig. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_255

Cantatas Johann Sebastian Bach_section_22

See also: Bach cantata and List of Bach cantatas Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_256

According to his obituary, Bach would have composed five year-cycles of sacred cantatas, and additional church cantatas for weddings and funerals, for example. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_257

Approximately 200 of these sacred works are extant, an estimated two thirds of the total number of church cantatas he composed. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_258

The Bach Digital website lists 50 known secular cantatas by the composer, about half of which are extant or largely reconstructable. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_259

Church cantatas Johann Sebastian Bach_section_23

See also: Church cantata (Bach) Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_260

Bach's cantatas vary greatly in form and instrumentation, including those for solo singers, single choruses, small instrumental groups, and grand orchestras. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_261

Many consist of a large opening chorus followed by one or more recitative-aria pairs for soloists (or duets) and a concluding chorale. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_262

The melody of the concluding chorale often appears as a cantus firmus in the opening movement. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_263

Bach's earliest cantatas date from his years in Arnstadt and Mühlhausen. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_264

The earliest one with a known date is Christ lag in Todes Banden, BWV 4, for Easter 1707, which is one of his chorale cantatas. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_265

Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit, BWV 106, also known as Actus Tragicus, is a funeral cantata from the Mühlhausen period. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_266

Around 20 church cantatas are extant from his later years in Weimar, for instance, Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis, BWV 21. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_267

After taking up his office as Thomaskantor in late May 1723, Bach performed a cantata each Sunday and feast day, corresponding to the lectionary readings of the week. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_268

His first cantata cycle ran from the first Sunday after Trinity of 1723 to Trinity Sunday the next year. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_269

For instance, the Visitation cantata Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147, containing the chorale that is known in English as "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring", belongs to this first cycle. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_270

The cantata cycle of his second year in Leipzig is called the chorale cantata cycle as it consists mainly of works in the chorale cantata format. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_271

His third cantata cycle was developed over a period of several years, followed by the Picander cycle of 1728–29. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_272

Later church cantatas include the chorale cantatas Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott, BWV 80 (final version) and Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 140. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_273

Only the first three Leipzig cycles are more or less completely extant. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_274

Apart from his own work, Bach also performed cantatas by Telemann and by his distant relative Johann Ludwig Bach. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_275

Secular cantatas Johann Sebastian Bach_section_24

See also: List of secular cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_276

Bach also wrote secular cantatas, for instance for members of the royal Polish and prince-electoral Saxonian families (e.g. Trauer-Ode), or other public or private occasions (e.g. Hunting Cantata). Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_277

The text of these cantatas was occasionally in dialect (e.g. Peasant Cantata) or Italian (e.g. Amore traditore). Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_278

Many of the secular cantatas were lost, but for some of them the text and occasion are known, for instance when Picander later published their librettos (e.g. BWV Anh. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_279 1112). Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_280

Some of the secular cantatas had a plot involving mythological figures of Greek antiquity (e.g. Der Streit zwischen Phoebus und Pan), and others were almost miniature buffo operas (e.g. Coffee Cantata). Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_281

A cappella music Johann Sebastian Bach_section_25

Bach's a cappella music includes motets and chorale harmonisations. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_282

Motets Johann Sebastian Bach_section_26

Main article: Motets (Bach) Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_283

Bach's motets (BWV 225–231) are pieces on sacred themes for choir and continuo, with instruments playing colla parte. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_284

Several of them were composed for funerals. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_285

The six motets definitely composed by Bach are Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied, Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf, Jesu, meine Freude, Fürchte dich nicht, Komm, Jesu, komm, and Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_286

The motet Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren (BWV 231) is part of the composite motet Jauchzet dem Herrn, alle Welt (BWV Anh. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_287

160), other parts of which may be based on work by Telemann. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_288

Chorale harmonisations Johann Sebastian Bach_section_27

See also: List of chorale harmonisations by Johann Sebastian Bach Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_289

Bach wrote hundreds of four-part harmonisations of Lutheran chorales. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_290

Church music in Latin Johann Sebastian Bach_section_28

See also: Bach's church music in Latin Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_291

Bach's church music in Latin includes the Magnificat, four Kyrie–Gloria Masses, and the Mass in B minor. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_292

Magnificat Johann Sebastian Bach_section_29

See also: Magnificat (Bach) Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_293

The first version of Bach's Magnificat dates from 1723, but the work is best known in its D major version of 1733. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_294

Mass in B minor Johann Sebastian Bach_section_30

See also: Mass in B minor Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_295

In 1733 Bach composed a Kyrie–Gloria Mass for the Dresden court. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_296

Near the end of his life, around 1748–1749, he expanded this composition into the large-scale Mass in B minor. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_297

The work was never performed in full during Bach's lifetime. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_298

Keyboard music Johann Sebastian Bach_section_31

Bach wrote for organ and for stringed keyboard instruments such as harpsichord, clavichord and lute-harpsichord. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_299

Organ works Johann Sebastian Bach_section_32

See also: List of organ compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_300

Bach was best known during his lifetime as an organist, organ consultant, and composer of organ works in both the traditional German free genres (such as preludes, fantasias, and toccatas) and stricter forms (such as chorale preludes and fugues). Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_301

At a young age, he established a reputation for creativity and ability to integrate foreign styles into his organ works. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_302

A decidedly North German influence was exerted by Georg Böhm, with whom Bach came into contact in Lüneburg, and Dieterich Buxtehude, whom the young organist visited in Lübeck in 1704 on an extended leave of absence from his job in Arnstadt. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_303

Around this time, Bach copied the works of numerous French and Italian composers to gain insights into their compositional languages, and later arranged violin concertos by Vivaldi and others for organ and harpsichord. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_304

During his most productive period (1708–1714) he composed about a dozen pairs of preludes and fugues, five toccatas and fugues, and the Little Organ Book, an unfinished collection of 46 short chorale preludes that demonstrate compositional techniques in the setting of chorale tunes. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_305

After leaving Weimar, Bach wrote less for organ, although some of his best-known works (the six Organ Sonatas, the German Organ Mass in Clavier-Übung III from 1739, and the Great Eighteen Chorale Preludes, revised late in his life) were composed after leaving Weimar. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_306

Bach was extensively engaged later in his life in consulting on organ projects, testing new organs and dedicating organs in afternoon recitals. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_307

The Canonic Variations on "Vom Himmel hoch da komm' ich her" and the Schübler Chorales are organ works Bach published in the last years of his life. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_308

Harpsichord and other stringed keyboard instruments Johann Sebastian Bach_section_33

See also: List of solo keyboard compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_309

Bach wrote many works for harpsichord, some of which may also have been played on the clavichord or lute-harpsichord. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_310

Some of his larger works, such as Clavier-Übung II and IV, are intended for a harpsichord with two manuals: performing them on a keyboard instrument with a single manual (like a piano) may present technical difficulties for the crossing of hands. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_311

Johann Sebastian Bach_unordered_list_1

  • The Well-Tempered Clavier, Books 1 and 2 (BWV 846–893). Each book consists of a prelude and fugue in each of the 24 major and minor keys, in chromatic order from C major to B minor (thus, the whole collection is often referred to as "the 48"). "Well-tempered" in the title refers to the temperament (system of tuning); many temperaments before Bach's time were not flexible enough to allow compositions to utilise more than just a few keys.Johann Sebastian Bach_item_1_2
  • The Inventions and Sinfonias (BWV 772–801). These short two- and three-part contrapuntal works are arranged in the same chromatic order as The Well-Tempered Clavier, omitting some of the rarer keys. These pieces were intended by Bach for instructional purposes.Johann Sebastian Bach_item_1_3
  • Three collections of dance suites: the English Suites (BWV 806–811), French Suites (BWV 812–817), and Partitas for keyboard (Clavier-Übung I, BWV 825–830). Each collection contains six suites built on the standard model (allemandecourantesarabande–(optional movement)–gigue). The English Suites closely follow the traditional model, adding a prelude before the allemande and including a single movement between the sarabande and gigue. The French Suites omit preludes but have multiple movements between the sarabande and gigue. The partitas expand the model further with elaborate introductory movements and miscellaneous movements between the basic elements of the model.Johann Sebastian Bach_item_1_4
  • The Goldberg Variations (BWV 988), an aria with 30 variations. The collection has a complex and unconventional structure: the variations build on the bass line of the aria rather than its melody, and musical canons are interpolated according to a grand plan. There are 9 canons within the 30 variations; every third variation is a canon. These variations move in order from canon at unison to canon at the ninth. The first eight are in pairs (unison and octave, second and seventh, third and sixth, fourth and fifth). The ninth canon stands on its own due to compositional dissimilarities. The final variation, instead of being the expected canon at the tenth, is a quodlibet.Johann Sebastian Bach_item_1_5
  • Miscellaneous pieces such as the Overture in the French Style (French Overture, BWV 831) and the Italian Concerto (BWV 971) (published together as Clavier-Übung II), and the Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue (BWV 903).Johann Sebastian Bach_item_1_6

Among Bach's lesser known keyboard works are seven toccatas (BWV 910–916), four duets (BWV 802–805), sonatas for keyboard (BWV 963–967), the Six Little Preludes (BWV 933–938), and the Aria variata alla maniera italiana (BWV 989). Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_312

Orchestral and chamber music Johann Sebastian Bach_section_34

See also: List of chamber music works by Johann Sebastian Bach and List of orchestral works by Johann Sebastian Bach Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_313

Bach wrote for single instruments, duets, and small ensembles. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_314

Many of his solo works, such as the six sonatas and partitas for violin (BWV 1001–1006) and the six cello suites (BWV 1007–1012), are widely considered to be among the most profound in the repertoire. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_315

He wrote sonatas for a solo instrument such as the viola de gamba accompanied by harpsichord or continuo, as well as trio sonatas (two instruments and continuo). Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_316

The Musical Offering and The Art of Fugue are late contrapuntal works containing pieces for unspecified instruments or combinations of instruments. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_317

Violin concertos Johann Sebastian Bach_section_35

Surviving works in the concerto form include two violin concertos (BWV 1041 in A minor and BWV 1042 in E major) and a concerto for two violins in D minor, BWV 1043, often referred to as Bach's "double concerto". Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_318

Brandenburg Concertos Johann Sebastian Bach_section_36

Further information: Brandenburg Concertos Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_319

Bach's best-known orchestral works are the Brandenburg Concertos, so named because he submitted them in the hope of gaining employment from Margrave Christian Ludwig of Brandenburg-Schwedt in 1721; his application was unsuccessful. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_320

These works are examples of the concerto grosso genre. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_321

Keyboard concertos Johann Sebastian Bach_section_37

Further information: Keyboard concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_322

Bach composed and transcribed concertos for one to four harpsichords. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_323

Many of the harpsichord concertos were not original works but arrangements of his concertos for other instruments, now lost. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_324

A number of violin, oboe, and flute concertos have been reconstructed from these. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_325

Orchestral suites Johann Sebastian Bach_section_38

Main article: Orchestral suites (Bach) Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_326

In addition to concertos, Bach wrote four orchestral suites, each suite being a series of stylised dances for orchestra, preceded by a French overture. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_327

Copies, arrangements and works with an uncertain attribution Johann Sebastian Bach_section_39

See also: BWV Anh. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_328

In his early youth, Bach copied pieces by other composers to learn from them. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_329

Later, he copied and arranged music for performance or as study material for his pupils. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_330

Some of these pieces, like "Bist du bei mir" (copied not by Bach but by Anna Magdalena), became famous before being dissociated with Bach. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_331

Bach copied and arranged Italian masters such as Vivaldi (e.g. BWV 1065), Pergolesi (BWV 1083) and Palestrina (), French masters such as François Couperin (BWV Anh. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_332 183), and, closer to home, various German masters including Telemann (e.g. BWV 824=) and Handel (arias from Brockes Passion), and music from members of his own family. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_333

He also often copied and arranged his own music (e.g. movements from cantatas for his short masses BWV 233–236), as his music was likewise copied and arranged by others. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_334

Some of these arrangements, like the late 19th-century "Air on the G String", helped in popularising Bach's music. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_335

Sometimes "who copied whom" is not clear. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_336

For instance, Forkel mentions a Mass for double chorus among the works composed by Bach. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_337

The work was published and performed in the early 19th century, and although a score partially in Bach's handwriting exists, the work was later considered spurious. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_338

In 1950, the design of the Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis was to keep such works out of the main catalogue: if there was a strong association with Bach they could be listed in its appendix (German: Anhang, abbreviated as Anh.). Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_339

Thus, for instance, the aforementioned Mass for double chorus became BWV Anh. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_340 167. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_341

But this was far from the end of the attribution issues. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_342

For instance, Schlage doch, gewünschte Stunde, BWV 53, was later attributed to Melchior Hoffmann. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_343

For other works, Bach's authorship was put in doubt without a generally accepted answer to the question of whether or not he composed it: the best known organ composition in the BWV catalogue, the Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565, was indicated as one of these uncertain works in the late 20th century. Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_344

Reception Johann Sebastian Bach_section_40

See also: List of transcriptions of compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach Johann Sebastian Bach_sentence_345


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann Sebastian Bach.