Culture and Recreation


How many musical Bachs were there?

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) was only one of a long and extended line of competent musicians—some 14 of them. The Bach family was a musical dynasty. J. S.’s father, Ambrosius Bach (1645–1695), was a court musician for the Duke of Eisenach, and several of J. S. Bach’s close relatives were organists in churches. His eldest brother, Johann Christoph Bach (1671–1721), was apprenticed to the famous German composer Johann Pachelbel (1653–1706).

J. S. Bach left a musical legacy even beyond the vast body of church, vocal, and instrumental music that he composed: Four of his sons and one grandson were also accomplished musicians. “The English Bach” refers to J. S.’s son Johann Christian Bach (1735–1782), who composed operas, oratorios, arias, cantatas, symphonies, concertos, and chamber music. A proponent of Rococo style music, J. C. Bach influenced Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791).


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