Johann Sebastian Bach was born inEisenach, Germany to an extraordinarilymusical family - for more than 200 years,the Bach family had produced dozens of worthy performers and composers.
Bach was a prolific German composer andorganist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to itsultimate maturity. Although he introduced no new forms, he enriched the prevailing German stylewith a robust technique, a control of harmonic andorganization from the smallest to the largest scales, and the adaptation of rhythms and textures from abroad, particularly Italy and France. He is regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.
Bachs mother died in 1694, and his father died the following year. The 10-year-old orphan moved in with his eldest brother, JohannChristoph Bach the organist at a nearby town.There he copied, studied and performed music, and apparently received valuable teaching from his brother, who instructed him on theclavichord. He exposed him to the work of the great South German composers of the day— such as Pachelbel.
The clavichord was invented in the early fourteenth century. It was popularin the 16th-18th centuries, but mainly flourished in German-speaking lands in the latter period; it fell out of use in the 1840s.
Bach wrote many works for theharpsichord, some of which may also have been played on the clavichord.
Bachs most famous works are probably the BrandenburgConcertos, the Mass in B minor, and the St. Matthew Passion. Bach was the most famousBaroque composer, and most surprisingly of all, he had 20 children!
In Leipzig Bach was constantly bickering with authorities over money. His duties were numerous, and the council thought he was neglecting them. He had to teach the boys to sing and play instruments; he was in charge ofperforming music in Leipzigs four churches; he had to write a cantata each week and Passion music for Good Friday. The music he wassupposed to write was "to be of such a nature as not to make an operatic impression, but rather incite the listeners to devotion."
He believed that "the aim of all musicshould be none else but the Glory of Godand the recreation of the mind." While hedid write secular music, religion seemed to be foremost on Bachs mind.To make some extra money Bach could write music for weddings, funerals or festivals.
St Matthew Passion or ThePassion According to St Matthew is a musical composition written by Bach for solo voices, double choirand double orchestra, with libretto by Picander. It sets chapters 26 and 27 of the Gospel of Matthew to music.
The Brandenburg concertos by Bach are a collection of sixinstrumental works presented by Bach to Christian Ludwig ofBrandenburg. The concertos are often regarded as some of the best ever written.
Jesu, Joy of Mans Desiring is a movement from a cantata written by Bach during his time in Leipzig. Bach wrote a total of 200 cantatas during his time there largely because Leipzig Churches would go through about 58 different cantatas each year.Though in the modern times the song is often played in weddings, it was not intended to be a wedding piece upon composition. In fact, the cantata wascomposed to be a full, traditional church hymn; it’s approximately 20 minutes in length.