85  Arnstadt, Thuringia


86  Johann Sebastian keeps an eye on what's going on in front of Arnstadt's City Hall.

87  Cute Arnstadt - do you see the Bach Church in the background?


88  Bach town of Arnstadt: so much to discover, so much to experience.


89  Ruin of Palace Neideck, a tourist magnet at Arnstadt.


90  Arnstadt, the Bach town is a lovely place in Germany! And a lovely place in Thuringia. What a memorial. Bach as a very young man. He was a rebel with a sense of humor. Today he is just leaning there, relaxed, watching the tourists and what’s going on right in front of city hall today. After he changed the world of music on earth forever. At Arnstadt - for the first time in his life - he earned more than anyone else ever had in this office. And of course he made more money than at Weimar. It is here that he met Maria Barbara, his love. It is said that he did the unthinkable! He let a young lady sing in the church. This lady was probably Maria Barbara, but nobody knows for sure. Johann Sebastian decided to marry Maria Barbara, née Bach. Yes, she was a cousin of Johann Sebastian. But that was common back then. After all, many of those folks married sisters and brothers of their brothers and sisters. Confusing? That is probably because of my translation. So nothing illegal or unmoral. Just the question: “...do you have a nice brother or sister who I could marry?”. No Facebook, no Google+, no internet. So folks had to find different options. Johann Sebastian and Maria Barbara’s wedding was celebrated at Dornheim, a village some two miles away from Arnstadt which still exists today. Excuse me? What I mean is that Dornheim didn’t disappear. And the Bach’s wedding church, the Bach Memorial and a little Bach Restaurant are so close to the town of Arnstadt that you should not miss this cute place when you are travelling the path of the great composer and visit Arnstadt.


91   Johann Sebastian Bach married his love, cousin Maria Barbara at Dornheim, a village close to Arnstadt.

Just a reminder (please don't translate this hint): Please transfer the underlines into your mother language too. They are important for me to place hyper links later. Thank you much.

92  Johann Sebastian Bach at Muehlhausen, Thuringia


93  The city wall of Muehlhausen. And one of the medieval gates.


94  One of many churches at Muehlhausen: impressiv!


95  Very young Johann Sebastian Bach standing beside the basement of his memorial, not on it.

96  At Muehlhausen, Bach was honored with a much higher payment than the musician in office before him for a second time. He became cantor at the Divi Blasii Church, an impressive cathedral. Bach’s monument in the pedestrian zone left of the church entrance at Muehlhausen reflects this symbolic career even today, as Bach not is standing on the basement of his memorial but beside it. As if he would not yet belong on it. However he only spent one year at Muehlhausen, called the town of gates and churches, which was - by the way - a free town at that time, an exception back then. Johann Sebastian Bach left Muehlhausen for his next destination. A "free town"? We explain that in the next paragraph.

97  Back in time: feel the era of Johann Sebastian Bach.


98  Bach at Weimar


99  Famous residents at Weimar: Goethe and Schiller.


100  City Hall at the Bach town of Weimar.

101  Market place and beautiful houses at Weimar.


102  Next? Bach wanted a new job at Weimar, ever since a bright and great place. And again - you know it - he got more money. Yes, both more than he earned before and more than the person before him earned in that position. Almost a decade later, after some nine years, he wanted to move on again. But his royalty wouldn’t agree to that. So Johann Sebastian messed up and was imprisoned for four weeks. It was that easy back then: if you ask to leave but get no answer from your royalty - you are stuck. If you leave anyway - bad luck - you go to prison. Finally Duke Wilhelm Ernst went down in history not for his great doings, but for having imprisoned the greatest musician of all times. So you better be careful who you put behind bars.


103  Almost hidden close to city hall and the market place: the Johann Sebastian Bach Memorial at Weimar.


104  Just a wall is left, where once the house stood in which Johann Sebastian and his family lived. There are plans to locate a Bach House on the current parking lot.


105  The so-called impressive and beautiful Red Palace with the Duchess Anna Amalia Library.

106 Koethen - A Challenge Even for the Best of the Best

107  The palace at the Bach town of Koethen.


108  Rich in history: Koethen, center of the city.

109  The Johann Sebastian Bach Monument at Koethen reminds of the great composer.


110  Koethen was the place where Bach could picture himself staying forever. He was accepted as a great musician, his royalty loved and supported him. The world was nice, the place was great. But on returning from a trip with his royalty he found that his beloved Maria Barbara had died. Even worse, she had been buried without his presence. From that point on everything went south. His royalty had married a woman who showed no interest in music at all. So the excitement of Leopold of Anhalt-Koethen for music cooled down as well. After a short time bad things developed. Plus everything around him reminded Johann Sebastian of Maria Barbara. However after half a year he fell in love with a new woman. Still today Bach biographers disagree whether it was just because he needed someone for the kids and the household. But to check this out it is this simple: read two controversial books, which I recommend in my book section of this website, both available in German and English. And decide for yourself. Welcome to the world of the Bach family - see me smiling? Nothing was left in Koethen that could make Bach stay there for more years to come. So he decided to move again.


111  Bach at Leipzig


112  Leipzig, what a town, what a cultural heritage!


113  Latest state of the art meets a glorious past: the University of the Bach City of Leipzig.


114  St. Thomas Church at the Bach town of Leipzig.


115  The most well-known Bach Monument is right next to the St. Thomas Church. (Thomaskirche). Here - among other churches at Leipzig - he worked for 27 years.


116  There are two monuments of Bach at Leipzig: the old one is located in a public park, some five steps away from the St. Thomas Church.


117  Bach had to decide. Although he would have been paid a great deal at Leipzig on the one hand, he had a really big family to feed on the other hand. Plus, as he mentioned in the only existing private letter to his former best friend Erdmann, Leipzig was a very expensive place to live back then. But it was the perfect background for all his children to learn and study at Leipzig. So he decided on this option.


118  Bach Was Fourth Choice Only


119  The only ray of light in a challenging environment of authorities: Johann Matthias Gesner. When Johann Matthias Gesner was principal of the Thomas School, time was good for the Bach family at Leipzig.


120  Can you imagine such a thing: as the council of the town of Leipzig was looking for the next Thomas Cantor, they tried to hire three different musicians first. But all three refused. And this, as it turned out after more than a quarter of a century later, was a very bad omen for the whole cooperation between Bach and the Leipzig authorities. The contract between the master of all musicians and the council of the town of Leipzig was unbelievably restrictive. Even considering that customs were different then to nowadays, the rules were like between villians and masters. Funny thing is that Bach was ordered by contract to create musical works of art, that should not be too long, which resulted much later in the famous St. Matthew Passion, which is a total length of three and a half hours. Bach’s life and work was a steady up and down, while the downs were more often and longer. Keeping in mind that a genius of this degree must be often misunderstood, as few folks recognized the volume of his brilliancy - the authorities of the town of Leipzig were the least to do so. It is written and proven by documents that the city council said that if they couldn’t hire the best they had to be happy with a moderate musician. Bach for them was fourth choice and a moderate musician!


121  Johann Sebastian Bach's St. Matthew Passion


122  Believe it or not: the world famous St. Matthew Passion with the first performance in April 1727 wasn’t even mentioned in the daily newspaper back then. A master piece not from this earth.


123  Treasures, very hard to find: an age old postcard showing the old Bach Monument at Leipzig, back then at a different place.


124  Exciting Stuff on Bach


125  After his death in 1750 Bach’s work "disappeared" for more than three-quarters of a century. Not for experts of course - but for the general public. To be precise, exactly for 79 years. It wasn't until another music genius came along, a Bach lover. And this composer reperformed the St. Matthew Passion of Bach in public for the first time since Johann Sebastian's death. Performed in a lighter version, as he felt he could not expect the original version of the audience. That was the true start for the actual fame of Johann Sebastian Bach. This great musician and composer’s name was Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. While almost nobody of the current seven billion folks on earth remembers Johann Sebastian’s once famous four sons, lovers of classical music and musicians all over the world adore the unique composer of Eisenach, Johann Sebastian Bach.

126  Thanks to Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy we didn’t loose Bach’s outstanding life work. He was the one to reperform the St. Matthew Passion for the first time after 79 years. What a success and what a beginning of the actual career of a genius.


127  The Grave of Johann Sebastian Bach


128  Thousands of Bach admirers travel on a pilgrimage to the grave of Johann Sebastian each year - from all over the planet.

129  Today Johann Sebastian’s grave is inside the Thomaskirche, the Thomas Church at Leipzig after a long and shameful odyssey over the past centuries. Too sad to tell as it started with just hastily burying his remains somewhere. Years later he was exhumed and burried again but finally he found an appropriate place in front of the Lord’s table at St. Thomas Church.


130  Johann Sebastian Bach’s grave inside the St. Thomas Church at Leipzig, Saxony.


131  The impressive Johann Sebastian Bach Memorial attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world.


132  This is the only painting of Johann Sebastian Bach by Gottlob Elias Haussmann that shows what Bach looked like, scientists believe.


133  A contemporary face has been modelled recently after the only bust by Carl Seffner. Seffner himself modelled Johann Sebastian's bust after the only “authentic” painting of Bach. Plus after Bach’s skull. Yes, only the famous Haussmann portrait is believed to be authentic. But actually - nobody really knows what Bach looked like - as there are so many paintings around - and Bach looks different on everyone of them. So I guess, we decide to believe that Bach looked like Gottlob Elias Haussmann painted him.

134  Was Bach a Hothead?


135  You might have heard about the story when Johann Sebastian Bach “used” his epee, one reason is he was considered to have a temper. Well, the master at Leipzig once was unhappy with the behavior of one of his students. He complained in front of the city council as the student was a member of the elite families of the town of Leipzig. A bigger issue developed and it got nasty. Bach didn’t succeed. And one night when Bach was walking home, a bunch of his students crossed his way. All of them angry at their teacher. What kind of verbal dispute happened is not told - but imagine yourself in the uniform of a concert master, an epee being part of the dress code back then. Wouldn’t you have unsheathed your epee? Not to use it, but just for your own protection? Yes - you would.


136  Are you through? Now hop to the German version. Explore, what needs no foreign language skills to experience and enjoy.


137  This website is created keeping in mind that international folks will be cordially invited to learn more - until there is no choice but to learn English or just be happy with the wonderful music of Johann Sebastian. So, from the very beginning, my German and English websites are constructed in a way that will provide fun beyond the language barriers. You are invited to explore more sub pages, such as the Bach stamps, his music and the Bach Picture Gallery. The Bach Music Works for instance: choose any piece at random. Then choose a theme to watch while you listen. Click on the icon and enjoy a dream with both your ears and your eyes. After that try another combination. Even better: check each of the German sections. And a very special secret: open a translation program in the background for one word or another: this helps with even more sections.


138  One More "Fact"?


139  Another big deal for countless biographers was the story that Bach had a temper, because it is said that he threw his peruke at one of his students. Again, keep in mind, he was a genius. So - in no field is the difference between two individuals as big as if somebody with no talent at all talks to a genius in his or her special field. And it is a fact that Johann Sebastian Bach even had to teach students who had no clue of music and weren’t even capable of singing in a choir. And many of the students of Thomas School were not musical at all back then. All this is a historical fact, proven in the famous “Erdmann letter”: Bach complained about that fact. He stated that several of his students are quote “...not to use for any music job....”. Plus some of his students were terribly uninterested. Now imagine the calmest person you know and you provoke this person for days, weeks and even months. Can’t you picture this quiet person go overboard when he or she is tired, stressed out or has a cold? And what did Bach do? Did he throw his stick, the next best violin, a chair, a piano (....correct, I am kidding)? No, he pulled his peruke from his head and threw it in anger. By the way: it’s not told whether the peruke hit or missed its goal. Yes, kidding again.


140  Invitation to Learn More


141  A jewel for historic Bach stuff collectors: a postcard from 1907, that is an age of more than onehunderd years.


142  Why don't you make it an adventure related to Johann Sebastian Bach. Click on the flag below. After that explore each chapter. Some of them are a waste of time, if you don't spreak German. However, others deliver a variety of fun, as they are not based on speaking German at all. You can expect best rewards in the stamp section, in the Top 33 Bach Music Section, in the Bach Photo Archive and the small Bach Videos are rewarding, whether there is narrated text or not. Just try one. Click here or on the German flag. Another option of course is to return to the navigation on this English "Bach on Bach" Website.



143  Enlarged detail of the card below: see the birth date? Nice try. Bach's birth was in March in both calenders, the Gregorian Calender and the Julian Calender.


144  Falling in love with treasures around Johann Sebastian Bach: one more age-old postcard.



145   Introducing the Member of Our Johann Sebastian Bach Dreamteam

From here please tell a little about yourself. Not much longer and not much shorter than here would be great.

146 Susan Bach Weaver (Don't translate, this is where your name and picture will be located).


147  Susan Bach Weaver is a member of the international JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH WORLD CULTURAL HERITAGE team and she is family! Susan lives in the United States and holds a BS degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist and author of the Rainbow Reach book series, which helps children deal with grief and loss (www.rainbowreach.com). Susan is also a highly regarded art director and founder of the graphic design firm, Dobe Marketing, Inc., named for her lifelong love of Doberman Pinschers. We want to thank Susan for helping to translate this section, which will allow the world to learn about a music genius in languages other than English and German. This site will pose as the translation source for all other languages, and will be the English version until BachOnBach is complete. Thank you Susan.


148  Renate and Peter Bach, Jr. are living in Germany.


149  We hope, you did enjoy this little introduction into the world of Johann Sebastian Bach and his life and music in your mother language. Please come again or become a Facebook Fan so we could tell you everything exciting all around the theme of Bach.



Renate und Peter Bach, Jr. und Xi Nan ( ... third name is your name ! )