(The early years in Cothen as described by Anna Magdalena Wilcken Bach, Johann Sebastian Bach’s second wife.)
Johann Sebastian Bach and I were married at his home in Cothen on December 3, 1721. I now am not only Johann Sebastian’s wife but I am also the mother to his four wonderful children, Katharina Dorothea who is now 13, Wilhelm Friedemann who is quite a musician already at age 11, and the younger Carl Phillip Emmanuel and Gottfried Bernhard, ages 7 and 6.
I now have a new life as a wife and mother, and in that role I am helping Sebastian with the children’s music studies. I also plan to continue my singing from time to time as one of the Prince’s female singers here in the court in Cothen. Lately, I have also found myself helping Sebastian by copying the dozens of parts needed for the instrumentalists and singers for the many performances of his music here at the court.
It was a big decision for me, at age twenty, to marry this great man, but I know we will have a wonderful life together. Sebastian is committed to composing music for his children, his growing number of students and me. He just completed 24 prelude and fugues for us to play. He inscribed it with the words, “for the use and profit of young musicians anxious to learn as well as for the amusement of those already skilled in this art.”
(This story is one of a many vignettes from the multi-media and organ program, Bach and Sons, presented by Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist with David Jordan, media artist.)