Bach FAQ 52
Of course the public reaction related to two very special honors in his musical career are not handed down. Plus, today it's a little hard to decide, by which event in his life Johann Sebatsian Bach was probably impressed most.
That is because both tributes have been provided by two kings, which reigned during the life of Johann Sebastian Bach. This was the Polish and Electoral Saxon King Fredric August III of Poland and the State of Saxony, one of the greatest art patrons back then. He ruled in Dresden. On the other hand King Frederick the Great ruled at the same time, sort of. They ruled sort of at the same time, because their regencies of course didn't start on the same day and didn't end in the same year.
In the year 1736 Johann Sebastian Bach was given the title of "Royal Polish and Electoral Saxon Court Composer" by the King of Poland in Dresden, which was very important for Bach. Long eleven years later he was ordered to the King of Prussia to Frederick in Berlin and Potsdam. There Bach performed on the king's instruments as requested.
It's not known however whether the royal title of the Polish King in Dresden impressed Johann Sebastian Bach more, as this title "came along" with him from that day on and honored him on a daily basis. Or, whether the honor of one of the most impressing kings of all times and his interest in him and his skills ennobled Bach more. Surely both tributes were the real highlights in the musical life of Bach, because none of Bach's works ever was really appreciated and celebrated publicly, when it was published in their debut performances. The debut performance of the St. Matthew Passion was the low mark in this matter. This masterpiece hasn't even been mentioned with a single word in the daily newspaper of Leipzig.
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