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Johann Sebastian Bach: A Magnificent Musician’s Creative Genius, Part 1 of 2

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A German composer, harpsichordist, organist, and violinist of the Baroque period, as well as an expert on organ-building, Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach, Germany, on March 21, 1685. Generally regarded as one of the most prolific and greatest composers of all time, he is known for the Brandenburg Concertos and the Goldberg Variations, as well as the Mass in B minor. Bach explored every major style and musical genre of his time. He also developed these styles and blended them together in new ways, combining the emotional with the intellectual. In 1700, young Bach was offered a choral scholarship to the prestigious Saint Michael’s school in Luneburg. He enrolled with his lifelong friend Georg Erdmann. During his two years at the school, Johann Sebastian Bach was exposed to the diversity of European culture. He played the school’s organ and harpsichords, and also sang in the choir. In 1707, Johann Sebastian Bach was appointed organist at the Blasius Church in Mühlhausen, Thuringia, with good remuneration and improved working conditions. Four months later, Johann Sebastian Bach married Maria Barbara Bach.

During his time in Mühlhausen, he produced several church cantatas based on biblical texts. The first of Johann Sebastian Bach’s compositions to be published was Cantata No.71, “Gott ist mein Konig,” in 1708. At Mühlhausen, he encouraged music in the villages. He persuaded his employers to rebuild the organ and supervised the restoration. Johann Sebastian Bach composed most of his great organ works during the time he spent as an organist to William Ernest, the Duke of Saxe-Weimar. In 1714, he was made concertmaster and had to write a cantata every month for church services. He took part in musical activities at the Gelbes Schloss, or Yellow Castle, where Duke Ernest’s nephews were staying and taught both of them. During the years 1708 to 1714, Johann Sebastian Bach’s style underwent a profound change. He had been influenced by the new styles of the contemporary Italian opera and by Italian concerto composers such as Antonio Vivaldi.

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