Johann Sebastian Bach is considered to be one of the greatest composers of all time; one of the “three Bs,” including Ludwig von Beethoven and Johannes Brahms. Here are some fun facts you probably didn’t know about Bach.
Did you know? After working for Duke Johann Ernst in Weimar, Germany, for almost ten years, Bach decided he was going to work for Prince Leopold instead, without consulting the Duke first. According to some stories, the Duke was so annoyed, he ordered Bach held in jail for a month. Another version holds that Bach was jailed for refusing to be fired because the Duke didn’t like him anymore. Either way, he was definitely a jailbird! It seemed to have no effect on his career, however.
Did you know? Johann Sebastian Bach had TWENTY children! That’s right, twenty. Bach’s first wife was his cousin Maria; they had been married for 14 years and had seven children when she suddenly died while he was traveling with Prince Leopold. A year later, he met a young soprano named Anna and married her; they raised his children and had thirteen children together in a very musical household. Four of Bach’s sons became musicians: Wilhelm Friedemann Bach and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach from his first marriage, Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach and Johann Christian Bach from his second marriage.
Did you know? Nobel Peace Prize winner Albert Schweitzer was a prominent organist and music scholar (better known as a theologian, philosopher, doctor, and founder of a hospital in Africa), with a focus on restoring historic organs. Here come the Bach connections: Schweitzer wrote a book called J.S. Bach: Poet-Musician, exploring his thesis that Bach’s tones and rhythms illustrated ideas. He was among the founders of the Paris Bach Society, a choir that performed Bach’s music. Schweitzer published an edition of Bach’s works for organ just before World War I. And after World War II, he consulted on the project of rebuilding a historic church organ in Germany according to Bach’s original specifications.
Join the Cape Symphony and vocal ensemble Skylark on November 2 and 3 for Bach and Forth, a celebration of the great composer! Good seats are still available – visit capesymphony.org or call 508.362.1111.