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C O U R S E 
Western Music History through Performance
Jonathan Coopersmith, Curtis Institute of Music
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
The Bach Family and the International Style of Baroque
Notes taken on January 14, 2017 by Edward Tanguay
the Baroque period in Germany
delayed behind France and Italy due to the Thirty Years' War (1618-48)
a struggle between Catholicism and Protestantism
much of the country was destroyed
territories were transferred
land was divided into more than 300 independent cities and territories
late 17th and early 18th century
some of Baroque's leading composers came from Germany
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
George Frideric Händel (1685-1759)
Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
musical styles in Germany
unlike musicians in Italy and France, German composers would
study, copy, and arrange the music from different countries
travel throughout Europe learning and blending different compositional styles in new ways
this turned the national style of the Baroque to the international style of the classical period
German opera
a combination of Italian and French styles
opera was popular in Germany
the center was Hamburg
1678 the first public opera house
Reinhard Keiser (1674-1739)
the most prolific opera composer
over 60 operas performed in Hamburg
Johann Adolph Hasse (1699-1783)
there were two different styles of church music
a cappella
concerted style
instrumental accompaniment
Bach family
Lutheran religion
used choral and instrumental
single line melody set to a Lutheran text
four part vocal arrangement of those same melodies
two kinds of professional musicians in Germany
court musicians
worked for royalty
princes, dukes
imitated Louis XIV use of the arts as propaganda
hired court instrumentalists
singers and composers
not quite as many as the French
city musicians
included the town piper
usually could play many different wind and string instruments
would apprentice and take an audition to take the job
unless the family was passed down through a family, as was the case for the Bach family
controlled music of a city
in Lutheran towns, controlled music in the churches
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
proud of his family's heritage
1735: The Origin of the Musical Bach Family
tracing the origin of 53 family members
Bach learned from his father
Bach taught his oldest sons
Wilhelm Friedemann Bach
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (CPE Bach)
they taught their youngest brother Johann Christian Bach (JC Bach)
most of the musicians in the Bach family were town pipers, or church musicians
Johann Ambrosius Bach
violinist and trumpet player
was in the town council in Eisenach, Germany
he had his wife had eight children
Johann Sebastian was the youngest
wife died in 1694 and Johann died in 1695
made Johann Sebastian an orphan at the age of 10
JS Bach moved in with his cousin Johann Christoph Bach
learned to play the clavichord
learned the styles of many countries
recognized early as a good musician
awarded choir boy scholarship near Hamburg
at 18 embarked on career
concert meister at the court of Weimar
learned about Vivaldi
arranged Vivaldi's concertos for keyboard
it's a great way to learn the style of a composer, trying to arrange their music for another instrument
1707 married Maria Barbara Bach
actually a second cousin
had seven children
four survived to adulthood
1717-23 Kapellmeister at Court of Köthen
1720 Maria died
1721 met and married Anna Magdelena
professional soprano
together they raised the children from his first marriage and had 13 children of their own from 1723 to 1742, seven of whom died at a young age
didn't write much about himself or music theory
not much is known about him as a private citizen
clearly a religious man
dedicated his life to serving his religion through his music
1723 Cantor of the Thomasschule zu Leipzig
most prominent and highest paying position
remained here until his death in 1750
didn't travel much
according to his contract, he couldn't leave the city without permission from the mayor
held in high esteem
but he wasn't concerned with fame or being remembered after his death
little of his music was published
toward the end of his life, his music was considered old-fashioned
as the newer, simpler styles were becoming more popular
he didn't perform music by composers who came before him
didn't intend for people to play his
his music forgotten until Mendelssohn's revival of his St. Mathew passion in 1829 in Berlin
Bach's works
main job throughout his life was as an organist and composer for churches
also taught composition
gives us insight into his compositional process
encouraged his students to write away from the keyboard
think about what you have to say
rarely made any significant changes to what he wrote
didn't consider himself a genius, but rather a capable workman simply carrying out his duties
but many do recognize Bach as a genius, especially when it comes to counterpoint
the study of consonance and dissonance
composed in every genre except opera
cantatas, oratorios, and passions contained many of the same elements of opera
his genius can be seen most clearly in the mastery of the fugue
he had the ability to create themes and motives, even ones that contrast each other on the surface that fit perfectly when played together
cataloged in the Bach Werke Verzeichnis (BWV)
compiled in 1950 by Wolfgang Schneider
first section
200+ cantatas
second section: Keyboard works
preludes and fugues for organ
inventions (short compositions developing a single theme contrapuntally)
48 Preludes and Fugues for the Well-Tempered Clavier
Goldberg Variations
third section
suites for solo cello
sonatas and partitas for violin
fourth section
6 Brandenburg Concertos
The Art of the Fugue (unfinished)