August 15, 2022

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Bachfest Leipzig — Who was once Bach?

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Johann Sebastian Bach is now thought to be one of the crucial largest classical composers of all time. The Baroque composer is understood in track historical past as a grasp of polyphonic track. “Bach is known nowadays for appearing fantastic miracles at the piano and organ,” Bachfest creative director Michael Maul informed DW. “He composed fugues and preludes in all keys that experience fascinated generations of musicians and composers.”

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This 12 months’s Leipzig Bach Pageant will function two of his primary keyboard works. “The Artwork of Fugue,” performed through Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov, and the “Smartly-Tempered Clavier,” the primary a part of which will probably be interpreted through Hungarian pianist Andras Schiff, with the second one phase being performed through Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt. “The Smartly-Tempered Clavier” is one in all Bach’s most renowned tutorial works and celebrates its three hundredth anniversary this 12 months.

Musical director legacy

Johann Sebastian Bach was once born in Eisenach in March 1685 and died in Leipzig in 1750, the place he served as musical director on the St. Thomas Churcht for 27 years till his loss of life, directing, amongst different issues, the well-known St. Thomas Boys Choir, which had existed since 1212. With over 800 years of choral historical past, the choir is without doubt one of the oldest boys’ choirs in Germany. In spite of this lengthy custom, the successive selection of cantors have been best counted following Bach’s loss of life.

In overdue 2021, Swiss conductor and church musician Andreas Reize took over from his predecessor Gotthold Schwarz because the church’s 18th musical director after Bach. The St. Thomas Boys Choir historically opens the Bach Pageant, this time on June 9 with works through Bach himself and his son Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. The Bach Archive Leipzig has simply printed a brand new entire version of the works of the more youthful Bach.

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Bach circle of relatives gala’s

Johann Sebastian Bach was once born into a big musically vulnerable circle of relatives. His kinfolk and ancestors have been lively in northern Germany and particularly within the present-day states of Thuringia, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. They met annually for circle of relatives musical celebrations. “The Bach circle of relatives invented the Bach gala’s, so that you could talk,” says Michael Maul.

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If truth be told, this could also be the theme of the Leipzig Bach Pageant this 12 months which bears the motto “Bach -— We Are Circle of relatives,” which can function choirs from in all places the sector and works through Johann Sebastian Bach’s ancestors and descendants.

Of the city pipers and organists

Johann Sebastian Bach’s father, Johann Ambrosius Bach, was once hired as a the city piper, this is, as a the city musician. His cousin, Johann Christoph Bach (1642-1703), performed as the city organist in Eisenach and is claimed to were a super position style for Johann Sebastian Bach. On the age of 10, Johann Sebastian Bach misplaced his oldsters and lived for a number of years along with his older brother, Johann Christoph Bach (1671 to 1721), who was once additionally an organist and taught him to play the piano.

Later, Bach compiled the compositions of his ancestors and the works of composers who influenced him within the “Previous Bach Archive.” In it, Bach indexed 53 members of the family, maximum of whom have been lively as church or court docket musicians. In six concert events on “Bach’s Roots,” the works of his ancestors and his position fashions, corresponding to Dietrich Buxtehude or Heinrich Schütz, will probably be heard on the upcoming Bach Pageant.

From organist to track director

Even supposing Bach discovered to play quite a lot of tools, the organ was once his mainstay. On the age of 18, he won his first organist place in Arnstadt. In Weimar, he was once appointed live performance grasp in 1714 after which rose to transform “Kapellmeister” (or conductor) to Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Köthen in Köthen. There, in 1722, he additionally composed the well-known “The Little Pocket book for Anna Magdalena,” written for his 2nd spouse, in addition to the “Smartly-tempered Clavier,” a cycle of 24 preludes and fugues thru all primary and minor keys.

In Would possibly 1723, Bach then took up his submit for lifestyles as “Thomaskantor” or track director on the St Thomas Church in Leipzig. As the trainer of the St. Thomas’ Boys Choir, he had to offer musical accompaniment for the hundreds on all Sundays and vacations. As a result, he composed a mean of 1 cantata every week, no less than all through his first 12 months in workplace. What he thought to be as “application track” is nowadays described through many as “divine track” that conjures up other people international. In 2023, those Leipzig cantatas will probably be sung in a separate cycle on the Bach Pageant.

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It was once additionally in Leipzig that Bach composed his “Christmas Oratorio” and his nice “Passions,” particularly the “St. John Interest” and the “St. Matthew Interest.” Whilst Bach’s piano and organ works persevered to be cultivated through next generations, his vocal works have been all however forgotten publicly till the nineteenth century.

Renaissance within the nineteenth century

In the19th century, other people rediscovered Bach’s vocal track. “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy carried out Bach’s nice St. Matthew Interest once more for the primary time in Berlin in 1829, and everybody was once utterly enthralled and interested by this complicated but evocative track,” Michael Maul explains.

Mendelssohn Bartholdy tailored the paintings to the style of the time and had it carried out in a shortened model with a big orchestra. Below Thomaskantor Andreas Reize, the St. Thomas Boys Choir will carry out the St. Matthew Interest on the Bach Pageant on June 17.

DW will flow the live performance and make it to be had as a video on call for at the “DW Classical Song” YouTube channel.

Bach societies international

The primary Bach societies have been based across the time of rediscovery of Bach’s track through Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. The oldest of those was once the Leipzig Bach Society, whose founding individuals incorporated the composers Robert Schumann and Franz Liszt.

In 1900, the “Neue Bachgesellschaft” (New Bach Society) was once based in Leipzig, which to at the present time has made it its challenge to advertise and disseminate Johann Sebastian Bach’s track. The society runs the Bach Museum in Eisenach and invitations guests to Bach gala’s in alternating towns once a year. This 12 months, in conjunction with the Leipzig Bach Pageant, it celebrates the good global Bach circle of relatives.

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Because the Bach Archive has found out, there are actually greater than 300 Bach societies in Germany and all over the world. Some of the most up-to-date is, as an example, the “Sociedad de Bach” in Paraguay, based in 2008, or the “Cushy Bach Society Yamaguchi” from Japan from 2013.

In Malaysia, conductor and founder David Chin has been celebrating his personal Bach Pageant once a year since 2015. For Bach Pageant Director Michael Maul, that is evidence that Bach’s track continues to encourage other people all over the world nowadays. “We find increasingly secrets and techniques as a result of this track has such a lot of aspects. You’ll pay attention to it over and over and discover it, and you’ll at all times come throughout new beauties and particular options.”

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