|Today in Music History
A Daily Look at Music History For Violin Students
A Look at What Happened on Today's Date
Long, Long Ago . . . Or Maybe Just Last Year
|Can You Guess?
J.S. Bach had many children. Probably more than your family. Can You Guess how many?
Look at the Bottom of the Page for the Answer.
|1825 - Death of Czech composer Jan Vaclav Hugo Vorisek in Vienna,
1826 - Premier of Mendelssohn's Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream, in Berlin, a piano veresion played by the composer and his sister.
1828 - Death of Austrian composer Franz Schubert in Vienna, at the age of 31 from typhus.
1875 - Premier of Tchaikovsky's Third Symphony, in Moscow.
1905 - Big Band leader Tommy Dorsey
was born. (His music here.)
1936 - First concert recorded on magnetic tape with the London Philharmonic orchestra, A sound byte from the concert can be heard on this page.
1957 - American conductor Leonard Bernstein was named Music Director of the New York Philharmonic.
1966 - The Supremes started a 2-week run at #1 on the US singles chart with You Keep Me Hanging On.
|Johann Sebastian Bach
|Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach, Germany in 1685. He came from a family of musicians so it's no surprise that the talent was passed on to him.
Bach lost both his parents in one year when he was nine, so he went to live with his oldest brother (an organist)Johann Christoph Bach. It's assumed that he learned the organ while he stayed with his brother. In 1703 he became the organ player for the Kneue Kirche (the third church in that town.) A few years later he married his second cousin, Maria Barbara Bach, who had seven kids with him.
The Career of Composer Johann Sebastian Bach
Soon after marrying Maria, Johann Sebastian Bach became the organist and chamber musician for the Duke of Saxe-Weimar and during the next nine years he became a well known organ player. He eventually changed jobs - his new boss was Prince Leopold who loved Bach's music. In 1720 Maria Barbara died and a year later Bach married Anna Magdalena. She had 13 kids with him.
The Loss of a Great Composer
|On November 19, 1736, Johann Sebastian Bach was named court composer by Poland's King Agustus III.
Johann Sebastian Bach (called Sebastian) was born in Eisenach, Germany in 1685. Sebastian attended Eisenach's Lateinschule, the same institute where Martin Luther had studied. The main subjects taught there were religion and grammar with secondary emphases in history and arithmetic.
|Bach came from a family of musicians. He probably took his first music lessons from his father, Ambrosius. In 1695, both his parents died, and Sebastian went to live with his elder brother Johann Christoph, organist at the Church of St. Michael in Ohrdruf. While there, Sebastian studied at the Klosterschule, which had a very innovative curriculum. It compressed 6 years of math into 4, and students studied music 4-5 hours per week. Sebastian excelled here and rose to the head of his class.
In 1700, Sebastian made the 200-mile trip to Lüneburg to study at the Michaelisschule, where he sang in the church choir on Sundays and as needed for other occasions in return for tuition, room, board, and a small allowance. Unfortunately these scholarships only remained until a boy's voice changed. After that, Sebastian played violin in the orchestra and accompanied the choir on the harpsichord before quitting his career as a student. At Lüneburg Bach continued to develop his skills as a choral composer.
In March, 1703, at age 17, Bach became court musician to the Duke: Johann Ernst due to his reputation as one who had expertise in pipe organ design and construction. As a youngster in Eisenach, Ohrdruf and Lüneburg, Sebastian was present when these towns had undertaken renovations of organs in their churches. Sebastian was probably a frequent companion of the guildsmen in charge of these reconstructions, and probably an active participant.
In the fall of 1705 Bach received a leave of absence to visit Lübeck, home of the brilliant organist Dietrich Buxtehude. He was granted 4 weeks. When it came time to return to Arnstadt Bach lingered in Lübeck for 3 months without consulting his employers. He was reprimanded.
Bach's contract at Arnstadt required him to play and maintain the organ and that is all. His compositions from this period were therefore produced at his own initiative and on his own time. Most of them are for the keyboard, including: toccatas for clavier, several reworkings of compositions by earlier Italian composers (Legrenzi, Corelli, Albinoni), and organ works. Included among the compositions for organ is the prelude on Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, which survives today as the oldest extant manuscript in Bach's own hand.
Bach applied for the prestigious job as the music director of the Thomasschule in 1722. A year later, after two other musicians turned down the job, it was given to Bach.
During the following years he was in high demand as a teacher because of his knowledge and talent with the organ. He worked as court musician in various posts. He also began publishing his own work. Bach wrote over 300 musical pieces, including many for violin (Click Here to Hear a Synthesized version of his "Double" Concerto for Two Violins and download the sheet music from Virtual Sheet Music.), but always enjoyed studying music and playing instruments more than writing music.
During his last year, Bach's eyesight began to fail and in 1749 he had two operations to help his vision. On July 28th, three months after his last operation, Bach died at age 65. He was buried at St. John's cemetery in Leipzig. His widow, Anna Magdalena, lived for another 10 years before she died in poverty.
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|Did You Guess?
Johann Sebastian Bach had 20 children! 5 boys were named Johann, 2 girls named Johanna. 4 grew up to be famous composers!