On Friday, March 21, WFMT presents an entire day of music by Johann Sebastian Bach, a composer beloved by audiences, and especially by musicians.
J.S. Bach was born on March 21, 1685, lived until 1750. His influence has been felt by Mozart, Mendelssohn, Brahms; and all the way to composers of the present, like Pulitzer Prize-winners John Corigliano and Paul Moravec.
WFMT offers a daylong celebration including a concert at 8:00 PM of the choir for which Bach served as organist and choirmaster, St. Thomas Church in Leipzig; a performance from Valparaiso University. Also on Friday, WFMT presents a Bach special with Studs Terkel at 10:00 PM.
Did you know that Johann Sebastian Bach…
- attended the very same grammar school as Martin Luther
- was orphaned at the age of 9
- was a gifted boy soprano, and sang for his schooling, room, and board
- stayed on after his voice changed; by that time he played violin well enough for the orchestra; and accompanied the choir at the harpsichord
- was 18 when he got his first job as church organist
- was reprimanded for playing “irrelevant ornaments which obliterate the melody and confuse the congregation”
- was reprimanded for entertaining a girl in the organ loft—he later married her; she bore 7 children, 4 survived to adulthood
- worked as a violinist and orchestra leader in Weimar (1708-1717), as well as court organist—he began writing heaps of organ works
- was jailed for a month when he attempted to resign his post in Weimar
- Bach went on tour with his prince, came back to find his wife dead and buried, his 4 children motherless
- at 36 married a 20-year-old named Anna Magdalena who bore him 13 more children, though only 6 survived to adulthood
- Bach’s son, Carl Phillip Emmanuel, was employed as court harpsichordist to Frederick the Great
- Bach was all but forgotten; Felix Mendelssohn began the Bach revival