Johann Christoph Bach

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Johann Christoph Bach
Background information
Died31 March 1703
Occupation(s)Composer and Organist

Johann Christoph Bach (baptised 18 December [O.S. 8 December] 1642 – 31 March 1703) was a German composer and organist of the Baroque period. Johann Christoph was an older cousin of Johann Sebastian Bach who would later describe him in his Genealogy (Ursprung, 1735) as "the profound composer", suggesting a solid reputation not only within the family but also in wider musical society.[1][2] He is not to be confused with Johann Sebastian Bach's son, Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach.[1]


Early life and family connections[edit]

Johann Christoph was born at Arnstadt, the son of Heinrich Bach, a first cousin of J.S. Bach's father Johann Ambrosius Bach. This made Johann Christoph J.S. Bach's first cousin once removed. Furthermore, Johann Christoph was the uncle of Maria Barbara Bach, J. S. Bach's second cousin and first wife.[1]

Marriage and offspring[edit]

Johann Christoph married Maria Elisabeth Wiedemann in 1667. They had seven children, including four sons who became musicians:[3] Johann Nicolaus (10 October 1669 – 4 November 1753), Johann Christoph Jr. (29 August 1676 – 1738), Johann Friedrich (1682–1730), and Johann Michael (1685–unknown).

Autograph manuscript of the Lamento: Ach, daß ich Wassers g'nug hätte, University of Uppsala


Johann Christoph Bach was organist of St George's church at Eisenach, the capital of the Dukes of Saxe-Eisenach. He was also employed as a member of the Ducal court. Perhaps his best known works are: the cantata Meine Freundin, du bist schön, based on the Song of Solomon; the 4-part chorale prelude "An Wasserflüssen Babylon", and; Lamento: Ach, daß ich Wassers g'nug hätte, a church cantata for alto and strings.[4] Despite Johann Christoph's steady employment as a musician he was heavily in debt when he died at Eisenach. He died just ten days after his wife Maria died.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Wolff, Christoph (2001). "Bach, Johann Christoph". Grove Music Online (8th ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.6002278189. ISBN 978-1-56159-263-0.
  2. ^ Gardiner, John Eliot (2014). Music in the Castle of Heaven: A Portrait of Johann Sebastian Bach. Penguin Books. pp. 64–79. ISBN 978-0141977591.
  3. ^ Wolff, Christoph (1980). The New Grove Bach Family. W.W. Norton & Company. pp. 10–15. ISBN 0-393-30088-9.
  4. ^ Rose, Steven (2017). "The Alt-Bachisches Archiv". In Leaver, Robin A. (ed.). The Routledge Research Companion to Johann Sebastian Bach. Taylor & Francis. pp. 213–236. ISBN 9781409417903.

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