Music Prodigies: Johann Sebastian BACH
Be welcome to this section of this blog, this section is called “Music prodigies” in which we will tell about the greatest composers and musicians of all times. A little history will also be shown, but we assure one thing: this is not gonna put you to sleep.
Our first prodigy is someone who took music to a whole new level, this man didn’t know what fame was and he didn’t write following any fashion standards. He was rather a very religious man that dedicated his whole work to God.
It’s Johann Sebastian Bach we’re talking about, this man lived his whole life under no recognition at all. Actually, a lot of time passed after his death (near a century) before someone else would finally find his works and imposed to himself the sacred job of letting the world know about this musical genius.
Bach was born in Eisenach in March 21st of 1692, one of the eight sons of the also musician Johan Ambrosius Bach and also the most talented. He studied at the Latin School, in which he received his first education by no other than Martin Luther whose spirituality would mark his life for good and it would be later reflected in his works.
All of Bach’s works are signed as: ‘Soli Deo Gloria’ (The Glory is just for God), he was a choirboy and had violin lessons from his father who educated him to became a municipal musician. He finished his musical studies at the Latin School in 1702, he moved several times until he finally became Chapel Master in Anhalt-Küthen, he married Ann Magdalene in 1721, they had 13 kids but seven of these died in a very early age.
His last years he devoted to music teaching, and he stayed as a performer of the clavichord, he had quite a great audience in that time where music was not allowed to be played in the streets or even outside churches. His death was caused by an eye disease and he wanted to get rid of it in order to keep his work as a teacher, chapel master, and performer. He followed the advice from some of his friends to get in touch with a British doctor that was in Leipzig by that time. The name of this doctor was John Taylor, he performed the surgery in March 1685 and at the beginning, the surgery seemed to be working very well.
However, a second surgery had to be made. Because of this last intervention, Bach’s face paralyzed and his body collapsed. Just ten days before his death his eyes were getting better, but a few hours later he had an apoplexy attack, followed by a very high fever, he passed out on July 28th of the year 1750 at the age of 65 years old, his remains rest in the Church of Saint Thomas in Leipzig since 1949.
As we said before, he died with no fame or glory, since he only devoted himself to write music that was old-fashioned for that time and he didn’t want to do anything that was too pretentious. Felix Mendelssohn was the one who by casualty found his works and put Bach into the sphere for the world to recognize his beautiful compositions.
Stay tuned for the next episode on “Music Prodigies”.
Jose Carlos (for Music Interval Theory Academy)