Essay: Baroque Music the Life and Works

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Baroque Music

The Life and Works of Johann Sebastian Bach

One of the most famous German Baroque composers and musicians was Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach came from a long legacy of musically inclined individuals, a family traditional which was epitomized by the life and career of Johann Sebastian Bach. Through his heritage, education, and experience with the best musical programs in Germany, Bach quickly rose to the top of German society. He made friends with royalty and brought great discipline to even the most fractured musical schools in Germany. The incredible ambiance of his original performances has continued through the generations into modern day performances, which give credence to the brilliance within every Bach composition.

Born in 1685, Johann Sebastian Bach entered into an already musically inclined family. His father, Johann Ambrosius, was under the employment of the Duke of Eisnach as a court trumpeter, (Smith, 1996). Johann Ambrosius also served as the director of musicians within their native town. Also musically inclined within the Bach family were his older brothers and uncles, who brought variety and expertise to the future composer and musician. In fact, it was his father who introduced him to the violin and harpsichord, and his older brother who directed him towards mastering the organ. Johann Sebastian Bach was forced to live with his oldest brother when both his parents died within a year's time, when he was still a child of nine years old.

Despite the tragedy, Bach's older brother proved an amazing teacher and mentor for the budding composer. After introducing him to the organ, Johan Christoph, his older brother, directed him to study composition through emulating such greats as German composers Jakob Froberger, Johann Caspar Kerll, and Pachelbel, (Smith, 1996). There is a popular anecdote which claims Johann Christoph found Sebastian Bach copying valuable compositions by the light of the moon. While excelling in other subjects such as Latin, Greek, and Theology, Sebastian Bach continued to develop his musical prowess during his years as a school boy in the Baroque period Germany. During this period he also explored his musical talent through vocals, when he joined the choir at the Michaelis monastery at Luneberg. Here at Luneberg, Bach excelled within the prestigious choir through his beautiful Soprano voice. After several years, Bach traveled back to his native home in Thuringia to work as an organist. Throughout the next several years, he perfected his skills on the organ, employed by several high ranking German Dukes.

Bach really entered into his prime during the years of his early adulthood. After marrying his first cousin Maria Barbara, who was also heavily involved in the Bach musical tradition, Bach returned to his previous position under the Duke of Weimar in 1708. Though he came from a well-known musical family, he really captured public attention in a public performance in Dresden in 1713, where he performed solo in organ competition, (Smith, 1996). His main competitor, Louis Marchand, fled back to his native France on the day of the competition. Johann Sebastian Bach was later made leader of the orchestra in 1714, where he began to write laboriously for the organ. After loosing his first wife to tragedy in 1720, and marrying his second soon after, Bach worked in several locations throughout Germany as an organist and composer. In 1723, Bach successfully applied for the position of Cantor of the Thomasschule which had opened up in 1722 in Leizpeg. Here, Bach spent the last 27 years of his… [END OF PREVIEW]

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