Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach Thuringia Germany on March 21, 1685.
Bach’s first wife Maria Barbara had seven children. Sadly, only four made it to adulthood. After an illness that resulted in Maria’s death, Bach then married Anna Magdalena. Anna produced thirteen children with six surviving to adulthood. In total Bach and his wives had produced twenty children!
Bach’s life was filled with music. Beginning with the fact that the Bach family had produced musicians for several generations. His brother, Johann Christoph, gave Bach his first formal keyboard lessons who in return had studied under Johann Pachelbel, a famous Thuringian organist. Bach’s school had an impressive musical tradition, and was famous for the their music library with manuscripts and prints from Friedrich Emanuel Praetorius. Pictures: St. Michael's church and choir and, Johann Pachelbel.
Bach was influenced by people’s music from all over Europe. Georg Böhm taught Bach French stress for keyboard. Johann Adam Reinken gave Bach both Dutch, and English influences. Dietrich Buxtehude had a major impact on Bach’s interest in organ music. Lastly, Vivaldi gave an Italian influence to Bach’s music.
Bach wrote many pieces of music ranging from preludes, to catanas, and then sonatas. He wrote music for solo instruments, orchestras, chambers, and even choirs.
Out of all of Bach’s works however, the most famous piece without a doubt is Toccata and Fugue in D minor. Even if it doesn’t sound familiar, there is a good chance you have heard it and just don’t know it. It’s famous opening has set the scene for many scary movies. It was even used in Walt Disney’s Fantasia. Oddly enough, the piece itself is quite a mystery. It’s never said what exactly the piece was written for. It’s not even given an exact day of being composed, only that it’s sometime between 1703-1707. Toccata and Fugue might not have even been written for organ at all. It’s said that it’s likely to be written for the harpsichord, or even more likely the violin.
Sites For Information: http://www.jsbach.org/ http://www.classicalconnect.com/Organ_Music/Bach/Toccata_and_Fugue/1642 http://www.classicfm.com/composers/bach/music/toccata-and-fugue-d-minor/ http://classical-music-online.net/