Let’s Get to Know Johann Sebastian Bach and His Family

In this blog you will get to know Johann Sebastian Bach as the living, breathing musician, father, husband, and sometimes imperfect human being that he was.

You’ll also get to know his family:  Elisabeth and Ambrosius–the parents;  Maria Salome–the sister;  Maria Barbara and Anna Magdalena–the wives;  Catharina Dorothea–the eldest child;  Wilhelm Friedemann, Carl Philipp Emanuel, Johann Gottfried Bernhard, Johann Christoph Friedrich, and Johann Christian–the surviving sons; and Sara Levy–a patron of the arts.

While doing the research and writing the story for our organ and media event, Bach and Sons, I found, as I know you will, the story of Bach and his family intriguing, engaging, and full of surprises.  Read on…

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Johann Sebastian Walks to Luneburg

(Christoph Bach’s wife continues the saga of Johann Sebastian Bach and his move to Luneburg, Germany.)

After five years, having Johann still living with us has started to become a problem. You see, our little home is getting a bit too crowded with our first two babies now walking and our third on the way. I think Christoph and I are going to have to send Johann Sebastian away. We just do not have room anymore and with one less 15-year-old-mouth to feed, it will make life a bit more manageable for us. We think it is time Johann Sebastian learns to live on his own.

Johanneskirche
Luneberg, Germany

Herr Herder, the schoolmaster here in Ohrdruf, has suggested that Sebastian and his friend Georg Erdmann go together to Luneburg to sing and study at St. Michael’s School. In fact, he is sure the boys can get scholarships because they are such fine singers and musicians. The only problem is that Luneburg is so far away, nearly 200 miles, and they would have to walk. We will see what plans can be made.

We just got word that J.S. is doing wonderfully in Luneburg. He loves all the music at the church and he is doing well at school as usual. He tells us there is an incredible music library with over 1700 titles by 175 different composers in Luneburg. My husband would really love to get to Luneburg to see this music, but he is so busy here.

Johann S. Bach is also doing well financially. He has the scholarship of course, but he is also earning a living as a singer at weddings and funerals and we hear he is even performing as a street musician. We were told that Johann Sebastian has also made the acquaintance of some famous organists who play in and around Luneburg, a Herr Bohm and a Herr Reinken. I think Johann took some of the music he composed while he lived with us to Luneburg and it would not surprise me if he played one of those pieces for those great masters. I hope he will play his arrangement of “Von Himmel Hoch.”

(This story and the images are from the organ and multi-media and event, Bach and Sons, presented by Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist with media artist, David Jordan.  Visit bachandsons.org to discover more.)