Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/122

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110
BACH.
 

which, coupled with great piety and goodness, enabled him to overcome the disastrous effects of the war, and so to educate his children, all of them more or less gifted, as to enable them to fill honourable places in the history of music. For the life of Heinrich we have complete material in his funeral sermon by Gottfried Olearius (Arnstadt, 1692). In his sons, Johann Christoph and Johann Michael (see those names, Nos. 16 and 19) the artistic importance of the elder Bachs before Johann Sebastian reaches its climax. In Ritter's 'Orgelfreund,' vol. vi. No. 14, there is an organ piece on the chorale 'Christ lag in Todesbanden,' which is ascribed to Heinrich Bach; of his other compositions nothing is known.

Christoph [6], the second son, born 1613, we mention last because he is the grandfather of Johann Sebastian. After a temporary post at the court of Weimar, and a stay at Prettin in Saxony, he settled at Erfurt in 1642, as member of the 'Raths-Musik'; moved from thence to Arnstadt 1653–4, and died there in 1661 as 'Stadt-Musikus' and 'Hof-Musikus' to the Count of Schwarzburg. Unlike his brother Heinrich he occupied himself exclusively with the town music—the 'Kunst-Pfeiferthum.' Further details of his life are wanting. His sons were—

Georg Christoph [7], born 1642 at Erfurt, first school teacher, then cantor at Themar near Meiningen, 1668; twenty years afterwards removed to Schweinfurt in the same capacity, and died there. None of his compositions are known to exist.

Johann Christoph [8], and his twin brother Johann Ambrosius [9], born 1645 at Erfurt, were so much alike in appearance and character that they were regarded as curiosities. After the early death of the father, who taught them the violin, and after they had completed their years of study and travel, Johann Christoph came to Arnstadt as Hof-Musikus to the Count of Schwarzbursr. Disputes with the Stadt-Musikus caused the dismissal of all the court musicians, including Christoph, but he was afterwards restored to his post. He devoted himself to the church music, which had been much neglected, helped his old uncle Heinrich in his official work with the utmost disinterestedness, and died 1693. With his sons the musical activity of this branch of the family ceased. Ambrosius was more important. He remained with his brother till 1667, when he entered the association of the Erfurt 'Raths-Musikanten.' We have already mentioned that he was a violinist, but his importance in the history of music is due to the fact of his being the father of Johann Sebastian. He left Erfurt after a few years, and in 1671 settled at Eisenach, where he died in 1695. Of his numerous children we need only mention the two sons:—

Johann Christoph [10], born 1761 [App. p.526 "1671"]. After receiving instruction from the celebrated organ-player Pachelbel in Erfurt, he became organist at Ohrdruff, and died in 1721. Further details about him will be found in the biography of his younger brother, the great Johann Sebastian. (See the article on him.)

Having thus sketched the general course of the family, we will take its various members in alphabetical order, reserving Johann Sebastian for the crown of all.

Johann Ægidius [12], younger son of the old Johannes of Erfurt, born 1645, was a member of the society directed by his father, became organist in St. Michael's Church, and in 1682 succeeded his brother Johann Christian [13], as 'Raths-Musik director.' He died at Erfurt in 1717. Of his numerous children only two sons survived him—Johann Christoph [14], born 1685, who succeeded to the post of his father—and

Johann Bernhard [15], born 1676, He was organist first at the Kaufmann's Church in Erfurt, then at Magdeburg, and finally at Eisenach, where, in 1703, he succeeded the older and more famous Johann Christoph [16]. These appointments, especially the last, give a favourable idea of his ability as an organist and composer. Of his compositions there still exist preludes on chorales, as well as pieces for klavier and suites for orchestra (or 'overtures after the manner of Telemann,' as they were called). The former were in the collections of Walther, the lexicographer, which are partly preserved in the Berlin library, and the latter amongst the remains of Sebastian, copied by himself. Johann Bernhard died in 1749.

Another Johann Bernhard, son of Sebastian's brother Christoph [10], was born in 1700, succeeded his father as organist at Ohrdruff, and died in 1742.

Johann Christian [13], eldest son of Johann of Erfurt, born 1640, was at first a member of his father's musical society; then removed to Eisenach, his younger brother Ægidius taking his place. Christian was the first of the family to go to Eisenach, but in 1668 we find him again at Erfurt; he succeeded his father in the direction of the musical society, and died in 1682. He was succeeded by his younger brother Ægidius. One son, Johann Christoph (1673–1727) is mentioned as orgmist at Gehren (near Arnstadt), where he succeeded the famous Michael (see that name, p. 111). He had studied theology, but was of a quarrelsome haughty disposition, and had many conflicts with his superiors.

Johann Christoph [16], the most famous of this oft-recurring name, and also the most famous of the older generations, was the son of the old Heinrich [5], of Arnstadt, and was born in 1643. He was a highly gifted musician, and through his own merits alone, independent of his illustrious nephew, occupies a very prominent place in musical history. His life was extremely simple. He was educated by his father, and at twenty-three became organist to the churches at Eisenach. Later he also became court-organist there, and died in 1703. Of his four sons we may mention Johann Nicolaus