J.S. Bach Biography

Xinh's project for Mu123, spring/1996 [Bach home page]
The following is a brief biography of J.S. Bach.

Bach's Life

Bach lived in Germany between 1685-1750, in the region of Thuringia. He was born in Eisenach. He spent a large portion of his life in three places: Weimar, Cothen, and Leipzig. In Weimar he was employed as a church organist, so he composed many of his organ works during that time. He later moved to Cothen where he directed a court orchestra. Consequently, during this period, he composed much of his chamber music and instrumental music. Finally, Bach spent the last 25 years of his life in Leipzig, where he was music director of the local church. During this time, he composed many of his church cantatas, other religious music including the Mass in B Minor, and his late works, such as the Art of the Fugue.
Wartburg Castle in Eisenach, by Jan Koster, 1995

His Music

For a great part of his life, Bach composed and performed music for the church. His complete works consist of over 1000 choral and instrumental works, including almost 200 cantatas. His choral works include cantatas, masses, and passions. One of his greatest choral works is the Mass in B Minor, one of the few pieces in which Bach set the Latin mass to music. He composed the Kyrie and Gloria in 1733 and added the other sections, which were mostly revisions of earlier works, in 1748, 2 years before his death. It is a mystery why Bach bothered to complete the mass, knowing it would not be performed in its entirety in Lutheran church services.
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Last updated: June 6, 1996