Johann Sebastian Bach, born in Eisenach March 31 (March 21) 1685, died in Leipzig July 28, 1750, is a musician, including organist, and German composer.
A most prominent member of the Bach family - the most prolific family of musicians in history - his career has taken place in central Germany, in his home region, serving small towns, princely courts the Leipzig City Council, which had little regard for him: he was never able to obtain a post commensurate with his genius and his importance in the history of Western music, despite the consideration of certain German sovereigns, such as Frederick the Great, for the Cantor of Leipzig.
Orphaned early, his first training was provided by his father Johann Ambrosius Bach, then by his older brother Johann Christoph Bach, but he was also a self-taught passionate about his art, copying and tirelessly studying the works of his predecessors and of his contemporaries, developing his knowledge of composition and especially of counterpoint to a level unknown before him and since then never surpassed. Johann Sebastian Bach has been a virtuoso of several instruments, the violin and the viola, but especially the harpsichord and the organ. On these last two instruments, his exceptional gifts were the admiration and astonishment of all his listeners - he pretended to play everything at first sight, and could improvise on the spot a fugue with three voices. He also had a recognized and highly sought-after expertise in instrumental expertise.
At the crossroads of the main European musical traditions (Germanic countries, France and Italy), he made a very innovative synthesis for his time.
Although he did not create new musical forms, he practiced all genres existing in his day except for opera: in all these areas, his compositions, of which only ten were printed during his lifetime , show an exceptional quality in melodic invention, in contrapuntal development, in harmonic science, in lyricism inspired by a deep Lutheran faith.
Bach's music achieves the perfect balance between counterpoint and harmony before it takes over from the middle of the 18th century.
He is in particular the grand master of the fugue, the prelude of chorale, the religious cantata and the suite which he has brought to the highest degree of completion. The main destination of his works depended largely on the functions performed: organ pieces in Mühlhausen or Weimar, instrumental and orchestral pieces in Cöthen, and nuns in Leipzig in particular.
His contemporaries have often considered him an austere musician, too learned and less forward-looking than some of his colleagues. He has trained many students and passed on his knowledge to several son musicians for whom he has composed many pieces for didactic purposes, leaving however no written or treated. But the end of his life was devoted to the composition, the gathering and the putting in order of masterworks or cycles synthesizing and concretizing his theoretical contribution, constituting a kind of musical testament.
Little known during his lifetime outside of Germany, out of fashion and more or less forgotten after his disappearance, fully rediscovered in the 19th century, his work, comprising more than a thousand compositions, is generally considered the culmination and crowning of the musical tradition of the Baroque: she admired the greatest musicians, aware of her extraordinary artistic value.
The object of a cult of musicologists and musicians3, which, however, could have aroused the irony of Berlioz, Johann Sebastian Bach is, today, considered one of the greatest composers of all time, if not as the most great.
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