Johann Bernhard Bach
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Johann Bernhard Bach was born in Erfurt in 1676 (most probably in November), in the house named "Zu den drei Rosen" (The Three Roses), in Junkersand Street, and was baptized on 25 November 1676 in Erfurt's Merchant's Church (Kaufmannskirche). He – like his younger brother Johann Christoph, born in 1685 – received his early musical tuition from his father Johann Aegidius Bach. After attending the Schola Mercatorum at Erfurt he entered Erfurt's major secondary school at that time, Ratsgymnasium. As early as 1695, at the age of 18, he became the organist at the Kaufmannskirche. In 1699 he moved to Magdeburg where he was appointed organist for St. Catharine's Church. In 1703 John William III, Duke of Saxe-Eisenach called him to Eisenach to serve as harpsichordist at the ducal court. In Eisenach he also became the organist at St. George's Church, succeeding his uncle Johann Christoph Bach.
From 1708 to 1712 Johann Bernhard Bach worked together with Georg Philipp Telemann who held, first, the position of the leader of the violin section, and, from August 1709, that of a conductor (Kapellmeister) at Eisenach's ducal orchestra.
On 6 August 1716 Johann Bernhard Bach married Johanna Sophia Siefer. Three children were born into the family.
In 1741 the ducal orchestra was dissolved, which meant that Johann Bernhard continued to work exclusively as choirmaster and organist, until his death, apparently still receiving the ducal allowance of 100 Thalers per year.
With his famous cousin Johann Sebastian Bach Johann Bernhard kept a life-long friendship. In 1715 he acted as godfather for Johann Sebastian's son Johann Gottfried Bernhard, whilst Johann Sebastian became godfather to Johann Bernhard's eldest son Johann Ernst in 1722. This latter was to succeed his father Johann Bernhard as organist at St. George's Church in Eisenach.
Most of his musical output has been lost, but amongst his surviving music there are four orchestral suites. It is known that J.S. Bach had individual parts prepared for performance by his orchestra.
The surviving orchestral suites (overtures) are as follows:
- Suite No. 1 in G minor
- Suite No. 2 in G major
- Suite No. 3 in E minor
- Suite No. 4 in D major
They are thought to have been written before 1730.
Surviving keyboard music:
- Fantasia in C minor
- Chaconne in A major
- Chaconne in B-flat major
- Chaconne in G major
- Chorales for organ
- "Du Friedefürst, Herr Jesu Christ"
- "Nun freut euch lieben Christen g'mein"
- "Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her"
There are also 2 fugues.
- Siegfried Orth: Zu den Erfurter Jahren Johann Bernhard Bachs (1676-1749). in: Bach-Jahrbuch, 57, 1971, S. 106-111
- Konrad Küster, Werner Breig, Günther Wagner, Ulrich Leisinger, Ulrike Feld, Peter Wollny, Ernest Warburton, Martin Geck/SL: Bach. in: MGG Online, edited by Laurenz Lütteken; Kassel, Stuttgart, New York: 2016ff., published initially 1999, online 2016 https://www.mgg-online.com/mgg/stable/12798
- Smith, Timothy A. "Johann Bernhard Bach 1676-1749". Northern Arizona University. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
- Siegfried Orth: Zu den Erfurter Jahren Johann Bernhard Bachs (1676-1749), 1971, S. 107
- Siegfried Orth: Zu den Erfurter Jahren Johann Bernhard Bachs (1676-1749), 1971, S. 110
- MGG Online, 2016, S. 29