Johann Sebastian Bach; Arnstadt and Leipzig
J.S Bach (1685-1750) wrote the most well arranged music in history. “His mastery of musical composition is so universally acknowledged that the date of his death is used to mark the end of the entire Baroque period” (Yudkin, 2004). Not much information is written about Bach before he moved to Leipzig in 1723. Before Bach’s move, he worked for small churches, and traveled very little. He was strongly influenced by a Danish organist and composer, Dietrich Buxtehude. Very little is known about the Danish organist. Bach specialized in organ instruments, playing highly religious music.
“Compared to most other major composers, Johann Sebastian Bach’s life and career were confined to a very limited geographical space. Born and raised in Thuringia, he never went further than Hamburg or Lubeck or farther south than Carlsbad” (Editorial, JS Bach.org). Nine years of his career were spent in a small German town, Arnstadt. In this city, he found a position working for the Duke of Weimar. His duties included working as an organists and orchestra leader. Bach decided to leave Arnstadt when refused a musical directors position for which he applied for.
Bach lived and worked in Leipzig for 27 years. He instructed singing students at Thomasschule and provided weekly performances for 2 main churches. Thomasschule is prep school for students before they enter college. Bach sort of worked as a talent agent, putting together special performances for students to sing at special occasions. Students earned extra money.
Bach’s work stands out because of his unique composing of songs. He wrote music with great precision, broken down into pieces, in details. This is called Mortets. “Bach is well known for his numerical symbolism and mathematical exactism found in his music” (Editorial, Billboard.com).
Editorial (no date) Arnstadt (1703-1707) JS Bach.org Retreived September 3, 2007
Editorial (no date) JS Bach Biography BillBoard.com 516700 Retreived September 3, 2007
Yudkin, J. (2004) Discover music: NY, NY, Sony Music Entertaining INC.