|Bach, Johann Sebastian (1685-1750)|
German organist and composer. Son of Ambrosius Bach and brother of Johann Christoph Bach (16711721), his first music teachers. Student and chorister, Michaelisschule, Lüneburg (170003); organist, Arnstadt (170307); studied organ under Buxtehude, Lübeck (1705); organist of Blasiuskirche, Mühlhausen (170708); court organist, Weimar (170817); court concertmeister, Weimar (171417); court Kapellmeister, Köthen (171723); cantor, Thomasschule, and director of university music, Leipzig (from 1723); honorary court composer, Dresden (1736). Visited Frederick the Great at Potsdam (1747); improvised there on the various newly invented pianos and tried the chief church organs; died totally blind (1750). Composed very large library of church, vocal, and instrumental music, including: Vocal: about 200 church cantatas and 24 secular cantatas; a Mass in B minor; Christmas, Easter, and Ascension oratorios; Passions according to St. Matthew and St. John; a Magnificat, motets, hymns, etc. Organ music: 140 choral preludes including Orgelbüchlein, 18 preludes and fugues including "St. Anne," various toccatas, fantasies, sonatas, etc. Harpsichord: Clavierübung, Goldberg Variations, Well-Tempered Clavier containing 48 preludes and fugues, two- and three-part inventions, etc. Orchestral: six Brandenburg Concertos, a Sinfonia, etc. Also wrote chamber music and unfinished Art of the Fugue. The premier composer of late German Baroque and one of greatest in history. Four of his sons and a grandson were musicians of importance. Wilhelm Friedmann (17101784), called "the Halle Bach"; organist at Dresden (173346), at Halle (174764); composer of concertos, sonatas, fantasias for organ and clavier, an opera, symphonies, etc. Carl Philipp Emanuel (17141788); composer and pioneer in establishing the sonata form; chamber musician to Frederick the Great, Berlin (174067); director of church music, Hamburg (from 1767); works included numerous concertos and sonatas for the clavier and piano, songs, church and chamber music, and a treatise called The True Art of Clavier Playing (175362), long influential. Most important composer of pre-Classical period, strong influence on Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven. Johann Christoph Friedrich (17321795); chamber musician (1750) and Kapellmeister (c.1758) at Bückeburg; composer of motets, church and secular cantatas, 3 oratorios, 6 quartets for flute and stringed instruments, clavier sonatas, and symphonies. Johann Christian (17351782); called "the English Bach"; cathedral organist, Milan (1760); composer to Kings Theatre and then music master to Queen Charlotte Sophia, London (1762); cofounder of Bach-Abel concerts (1765); composer of operas, oratorios, many arias and cantatas, clavier concertos, chamber music, symphonies, overtures, etc. A leading exponent of Italianate Rococo style; influenced Mozart. Wilhelm Friedrich Ernst (17591845); son of J. C. F. Bach; organist, pianist, and composer; Kapellmeister at Berlin (1789), and later music teacher of royal family; works included cantatas, songs, and piano pieces.