Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach biography

Johann Sebastian Bach was born on March 21st l685, the son of Johann Ambrosius, court trumpeter for the Duke of Eisenach and director of the musicians of the town of Eisenach in Thuringia. For many years, members of the Bach family throughout Thuringia had held positions such as organists, town instrumentalists, or Cantors, and the family name enjoyed a wide reputation for musical talent.

The family at Eisenach lived in a reasonably spacious home just above the town center, with rooms for apprentice musicians, and a large grain store. (The pleasant and informative "Bach Haus" Museum in Eisenach does not claim to be the original family home). Here young Johann Sebastian was taught by his father to play the violin and the harpsichord. He was also initiated into the art of organ playing by his famous uncle, Johann Christoph Bach, who was then organist at the Georgenkirche in Eisenach. Sebastian was a very willing pupil and soon became extraordinarily proficient with these instruments.

When he was eight years old he went to the old Latin Grammar School, where Martin Luther had once been a pupil; he was taught reading and writing, Latin grammar, and a great deal of scripture, both in Latin and German. The boys of the school formed the choir of the St. Georgenkirche, which gave Johann Sebastian an opportunity to sing in the regular services, as well as in the nearby villages. He was described as having 'an uncommonly fine treble voice'. The Lutheran spirit would have been strong in Eisenach, for it was in the Wartburg Castle standing high above the town, that Martin Luther, in hiding from his persecutors, translated the New Testament into German.

Roads were still unpaved in the smaller towns, sewage and refuse disposal poorly organized, and the existence of germs not yet scientifically discovered. Mortality rates were high as a result. At an early age Johann Sebastian lost a sister and later a brother. When he was only nine years old his mother died. Barely nine months later his father also died.

Johann Sebastian and one of his brothers, Johann Jakob, were taken into the home of their eldest brother, Johann Christoph (born l671) who had recently married and settled down at Ohrdruf, a small town thirty miles south-east of Eisenach. Johann Christoph, a former pupil of Pachelbel, was now well established as organist of the St. Michaeliskirche, Ohrdruf.

Ohrdruf: 1695-1700

Johann Christoph was an excellent teacher – all of his five sons were to reach positions of some eminence in music, and he was a keen student of the latest keyboard compositions.

Johann Sebastian at once settled down happily in this household studying the organ and harpsichord with great interest under his brother, and he quickly mastered all the pieces he had been given. When a new organ was installed at the Ohrdruf church, Christoph allowed his young brother to watch its construction. He also encouraged him to study composition and set Sebastian to copying music by German organist composers such as Jakob Froberger, Johann Caspar Kerll and Pachelbel. An anecdote tells how Christoph punished his young brother when he discovered he had copied a forbidden musical manuscript by moonlight over a period of six months, and confiscated the precious copy.

During this period Johann Sebastian attended the Gymnasium (grammar school) of Ohrdruf, once a monastic foundation, which had become one of the most progressive schools in Germany. He made excellent progress in Latin, Greek and theology, and had reached the top form at a very early age. The scholars of the Gymnasium, as at Eisenach, were also employed as choir-boys, and their Cantor, Elias Herda, had a high opinion of Johann Sebastian's voice and musical capabilities.

It was his excellent soprano voice that found Johann Sebastian a position in the choir of the wealthy Michaelis monastery at Lüneburg, which was known to provide a free place for boys who were poor but with musical talent. This was no doubt arranged by Elias Herda who had held a scholarship there himself.

In the Spring of 1700 Johann Sebastian set out with his schoolfriend, Georg Erdmann, who was also joining the choir, on the journey of a hundred and eighty miles north to Lüneburg. It is not known how they traveled; most probably the journey would have been undertaken largely on foot, relieved where possible with a lift on a river barge or farmer's cart. Doubtless the two boys would have been given free food and accommodation in the many monasteries along the route.

Lüneburg: 1700-1702

When Johann Sebastian reached this North-German musical center, he was well received because of his uncommonly beautiful soprano voice, and was immediately appointed to the select body of singers who formed the 'Mettenchor' (Mattins Choir). Their obligations to sing were many, and Johann Sebastian thus had a unique chance to participate in choral and orchestral performances on a scale unknown in the poorer Thuringian towns of his homeland. He was also freely permitted to study the fine library of music in the Gymnasium, which included some of the best examples of German church music.

The growing lad soon lost his soprano voice, but was able to make himself useful as a violinist in the orchestra, and as an accompanist at the harpsichord during choir rehearsals.

During this period he was fortunate in meeting Georg Böhm, organist of the Johanniskirche at Lüneburg, who himself had been a pupil of the famous organist Jan Adams Reinken in Hamburg, and was a friend of the Bach family in Ohrdruf. Böhm introduced Johann Sebastian to the great organ traditions of Hamburg, to which city he made several pilgrimages on foot. He also came under the influence of French instrumental music when, through his great proficiency on the violin, he played at the Court of Celle, 50 miles south of Lüneburg. Though distinctly German in its construction and outer appearance, Celle Castle was known as a 'miniature Versailles' for its rich interiors and then-current musical tastes.

When he was nearly eighteen, Johann Sebastian, considerably enriched by these musical experiences, decided he would try to find employment as an organist in his native Thuringia. He was greatly interested in an organ under construction in the new church of Arnstadt, and as members of his family had been professionally active in the district for generations, he felt he had a good chance of getting the post. So in 1702 he left Lüneburg and returned South.

Weimar: (first term): 1703.

While awaiting the completion of the organ at Arnstadt, Sebastian was offered, and accepted the post of violinist in the small chamber orchestra of Duke Johann Ernst, the younger brother of the Duke of Weimar. At Lüneburg he had already experienced church choir music, violin, continuo and organ playing, as well as musical composition and performance in the French style. Here at Weimar he now came into contact with Italian instrumental music, and acted as deputy to the aging Court Organist, Effler, an old friend of the Bach family, thus having a chance to keep his organ playing in practice. His stay here was short, but he was to return later.

In July 1703 the Arnstadt Town Council invited young Bach to try out the newly finished organ in the 'New Church', so called as it had been almost totally rebuilt having been seriously damaged by fire. He so impressed the people of Arnstadt with his brilliant playing at the dedication that he was immediately offered the post of organist on very favorable terms.

Arnstadt: 1703-1707

At the end of 1703, 18-year-old Sebastian took up his post at the small town of Arnstadt, no doubt thrilled at having his own relatively large organ of two manuals and 23 speaking stops, and the responsibility of providing music for his own congregation. Though the present organ is not "Bach's", the original manuals, stops and pedals of Bach's organ are displayed in the Palm Haus Museum of this quiet historic little town, where the house in which Bach lodged can also be seen.

In October 1705, the Church Council granted Bach leave to visit the north-German city of Lübeck to hear the great organist, Dietrich Buxtehude. In Lübeck he took every chance to hear Buxtehude play, and to attend the famous evening concerts in the Marienkirche when Buxtehude's church cantatas were performed. Bach was so fascinated by these concerts, and by his discussions on the arts with the great master, that he remained in Lübeck over Christmas until the following February.

He returned to Arnstadt three months late, having also visited Reincken in Hamburg and Böhm in Lüneburg on the way, full of new ideas and enthusiasm which he immediately put into practice in his playing. The congregation however was completely surprised and bewildered by his new musical ideas: there was considerable confusion during the singing of the chorales, caused by his "surprising variations and irrelevant ornaments which obliterate the melody and confuse the congregation".

The Church Council resolved to reprimand Bach on his 'strange sounds' during the services, and they also asked him to explain the unauthorized extension of his leave in Lübeck. Bach did not attempt to justify himself before what must have seemed to him a group of narrow minded and conservative old gentlemen; yet the Council, knowing how skilled his playing was, decided to treat their young and impetuous organist with leniency.

However, new conflicts soon arose when Bach, citing a clause in his contract, refused to work any longer with the undisciplined boys' choir which he had been required to train for the sake of Council economy. For this the Council further reprimanded him and also added the complaint that he had been "entertaining a strange damsel" to music in organ loft of the church. The young lady was probably his cousin, Maria Barbara, whom he was later to marry.

Thus, what had been an exciting and promising start at Arnstadt, had now turned into recriminations and disputes; Bach no doubt decided it would be better to look around for somewhere new.

At the end of 1706, he heard that the organist to the town of Mühlhausen had died. Knowing that Mühlhausen had a long musical tradition, he applied for the post, and after yet another very successful audition at the imposing cathedral-like St Blasius Church on Easter Sunday 1707, he was accepted, again on very favorable terms. So in June 1707 he returned the keys of his office to the Arnstadt Council and left quietly with his few belongings for Mühlhausen.

Mühlhausen: 1707-1708

Bach arrived at Mühlhausen, a small Thuringian town proud of its ancient foundation and independence, to take up the post of organist to the town. Unfortunately, a quarter of the whole town had recently been devastated by fire; it was difficult for him to find suitable dwellings, and he was thus forced to pay a high rent. Nevertheless, shortly after his arrival, he brought his cousin Maria Barbara from Arnstadt, and on October 17th 1707 he married her at the small church in the picturesque little village of Dornheim. Maria Barbara came of a branch of the musical Bach family, her father being organist at Gehren.

By now Bach had high ideals for the church music of Germany, and to start with, he began organizing the rather poor facilities of Mühlhausen; he began by making a large collection of the best German music available, including some of his own, and set about training the choir and a newly created orchestra to play the music.

The first result of these efforts was his cantata 'Gott ist mein König' (BWV 71), given in hitherto unknown splendor in the spacious Marienkirche to celebrate the inauguration of the Town Council in February 1708. This success gave Bach the courage to put in a long and detailed report, proposing a complete renovation and improvement of the organ in the St Blasiuskirche. The Council agreed to carry out the renovation and improvements, and Bach was given the task of supervising the work, for not only was he now a brilliant player, he had also become an expert on the construction of organs.

However, before the organ was completed, a religious controversy arose in Mühlhausen between the orthodox Lutherans, who were lovers of music, and the Pietists, who were strict puritans and distrusted art and music. Bach was apprehensive of the latter's growing influence, in addition to the fact that his immediate superior was a Pietist. Music in Mühlhausen seemed to be in a state of decay, and so once more he looked around for more promising possibilities.

Former contacts made in Weimar were now useful; the Duke of Weimar offered him a post among his Court chamber musicians, and on June 25, 1708, Bach sent in his letter of resignation to the authorities at Mühlhausen, stating very diplomatically that not only was he finding it difficult to keep a wife on the small salary agreed to on his arrival, but that he could see no chance of realizing his final aim, namely the establishment of a proper church music 'to the glory of God'. The Council had little option but to allow his departure. However, the situation was concluded quite amicably and Bach was asked that he should continue to supervise the rebuilding of the St Blasiuskirche organ. This he did, and some time in 1709 he came over to inaugurate its first performance.

Weimar: (second term): 1708-1717

Weimar was quite a small town with only 5000 inhabitants; yet Bach was to meet some very cultured people here. Not least was his employer, the Duke of Sachsen-Weimar, one of the most distinguished and cultured nobles of his time.

Bach's two-fold position as member of the chamber orchestra and as Organist to the Court offered him many opportunities for improvement.

The Court Orchestra consisted of about 22 players: a compact string ensemble, a bassoon player, 6 or 7 trumpeters and a timpanist. Bach's function in the orchestra was mainly as a violinist, however he also played the harpsichord and occasionally wrote or arranged some of the music. As was the custom in most 18th century Courts, the musicians also spent some of their time employed in household and domestic duties.

In 1714 Bach became the leader of the orchestra, and was now second only to the old and frail Capellmeister Johann Samuel Drese, whose duties he was gradually taking over.

As Court Organist, Bach had succeeded Johann Effler, a musician of some standing. The organ was new and not quite as large as the one at Arnstadt. After a few years, Bach declared that it was inadequate and should be rebuilt. It was in fact rebuilt at great expense according to his plans: proof of the high regard the Court had for his capabilities as organist and expert on organ construction.

During this period he wrote profusely for the organ, and he was rapidly becoming known throughout the country as one of the greatest German organists. Organ pupils came to him from far and wide, and he was asked to test or dedicate many organs in various towns. His tests were extremely thorough and critical. He used to say for fun 'Above all I must know whether the organ has a good lung', and, pulling out all the stops he produced the largest sound possible, often making the organ builders go pale with fright. He would usually complete his trial by improvising a prelude and fugue: the prelude to test the organ's power, the fugue to test its clarity for counterpoint. Constantin Bellermann describes his playing (during a visit to Kassel) in these words; 'His feet seemed to fly across the pedals as if they were winged, and mighty sounds filled the church'. Mizler's 'Nekrolog' states: 'His fingers were all of equal strength, all equally able to play with the finest precision. He had invented so comfortable a fingering that he could master the most difficult parts with perfect ease (using 5 fingers instead of the then normal 3). He was able to accomplish passages on the pedals with his feet which would have given trouble to the fingers of many a clever player on the keyboard'.

On a visit to Halle in 1713, during which he gave a trial cantata (probably BWV 21), he was invited to become organist in succession to Zachau, a composer well-known, and celebrated as Handel's early teacher. However, the conditions and salary were not sufficient for his growing family, so he was obliged to refuse the post.

On a visit to Dresden, Bach was invited to compete in a contest with the visiting French organist, Louis Marchand, considered to be one of the best in Europe. But, on the day appointed for the contest, Marchand decided to withdraw discreetly by taking the fastest coach available back to France. And so Bach gave an impressive solo performance before the assembled audience and referees, establishing himself as the finest organist of the day.

Bach made some very good friends at Weimar, among whom was the eminent philologist and scholar Johann Matthias Gesner, who expressed with great eloquence his admiration for the composer's genius. Bach was also a frequent visitor to the nearby 'Rote Schloß', the home of the former Duke's widow and her two music-loving sons. Here the interest was in the new Italian style of music which was then becoming the rage of Europe, one of the chief exponents being the Venetian composer Vivaldi. Bach and his cousin Johann Georg Walther transcribed some of the Italian instrumental concertos for keyboard instruments.

During 1717 a feud broke out between the Duke of Weimar at the 'Wilhelmsburg' household and his nephew Ernst August at the 'Rote Schloß'. Consequently musicians of the first household were forbidden to fraternize with those of the second. Bach did his best to ignore what was, after all, merely an extension of a private quarrel. But the atmosphere was no longer so pleasant. Added to this, the ancient Capellmeister then died, and Bach was passed over for the post in favor of the late Capellmeister's mediocre son. At this, Bach was bitterly disappointed, for he had lately been doing most of the Capellmeister's work, and had confidently expected to be given the post.

Through the help of Duke Ernst August, Bach was introduced to the Court of Anhalt-Cöthen, and as a result he was offered the post of Capellmeister, which he accepted. This infuriated the Duke of Weimar, so that when Bach put in a polite request for his release, he was arrested and put in the local jail. However, after a month, he was released and given reluctant permission to resign his office. During this enforced rest, Bach typically used his time productively, and prepared a cycle of organ chorale preludes for the whole year, published later as the 'Orgelbüchlein'.

Cöthen: 1717-1723

Bach arrived at the small Court of Anhalt-Cöthen to hold the position of Capellmeister, the highest rank given to a musician during the baroque age. His master was the young prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen, barely twenty-five years old, the son of a Calvinist. As the Calvinists were antagonistic to the splendors of the Lutheran liturgy, there was no church music at Cöthen; however, the young Prince's religious beliefs did not bar him from enjoying a cheerful and cultivated style of living complete with secular cantatas and instrumental music featuring the latest styles and fashions. Prince Leopold had already spent three years (1710-13) doing the Grand Tour of Europe, first to Holland and England, through Germany to Italy, returning by way of Vienna. So he would have been thoroughly familiar with the latest European fashions in music.

The young Prince stretched the limited budget of his miniature Court to provide an orchestra of eighteen players, all chosen for their high musical standards from all over the country, some from as far afield as Berlin. In fact it was during the Prince's Grand Tour in 1713 that news came to him of a golden opportunity: when Wilhelm I of Prussia came to power, he dismissed his father's Court Capelle, and Prince Leopold was able to tempt many of the best musicians from Berlin to Cöthen. He had well-developed musical tastes, having traveled widely, particularly to Italy, where he studied Italian secular music with great interest; he returned from Italy determined to raise the standard of German secular music to an equally high level.

Unlike most Princes of his time, he was a player of considerable proficiency on the harpsichord, the violin and the viola da gamba, and contrary to current Court etiquette he played quite freely and informally with his Court musicians, treating them entirely as his equals. He soon became very friendly with his new Capellmeister, having a high regard for him, and would often ask his advice on various matters.

Life at Cöthen was informal and easy-going; in this happy atmosphere Bach's days were completely devoted to music. During this period he wrote much of his chamber music; violin concertos, sonatas, keyboard music, etc.

When the Prince traveled, Bach and some of the Court musicians (together with instruments, including an ingenious folding-harpsichord) would accompany him on his extensive journeys. Twice they visited Carlsbad, the meeting place of the European aristocracy, in 1718 and in the summer of 1720. It was on returning from this second visit that Bach received a serious shock; his wife, Maria Barbara, whom he had left in perfect health three months earlier, had died and been buried in his absence, leaving four motherless children.

Two months later he visited Hamburg and expressed an interest in the newly vacant post of organist in the Jakobskirche. This church contained the famous Arp Schnitger organ with four manuals and sixty stops. However, Bach left Hamburg for Cöthen before the audition, presumably because the conditions there did not suit him.

Bach continued with his work at Cöthen. He was asked to compose and perform cantatas for the Prince's birthday and the New Year; two each time, one sacred and one secular. To perform these works there were singers under contract from nearby Courts, and one of these, Anna Magdalena, daughter of J.C. Wilcke, Court and Field-Trumpeter at Weißenfels, attracted Bach's attention with her fine soprano voice. In December 1721, Anna Magdalena and Bach married, she at the age of 20, and he 36.

Anna Magdalena was very kind to Bach's children, a good housekeeper, and she took a lively interest in his work, often helping him by neatly copying out his manuscripts. In the twenty-eight years of happy marriage that followed, thirteen children were born to the Bach family (though few of them survived through childhood).

A week after Bach's wedding, the Prince also married. But for Bach this was to be an unfortunate event, as the new Princess was not in favor of her husband's musical activities and managed, by exerting constant pressure (as Bach wrote in a letter), to 'Make the musical inclination of the said Prince somewhat luke-warm'. Bach also wrote to his old school-friend, Erdmann, 'There I had a gracious Prince as master, who knew music as well as he loved it, and I hoped to remain in his service until the end of my life'.

But in any case, Bach was now having to consider his growing sons; he wished to give them a good education, and there was no university at Cöthen, nor the cultured atmosphere and facilities of a larger city.

So once more, Bach decided to look around for somewhere new. It may perhaps have been these circumstances which led Bach to revive an old invitation to produce what are now known as the Brandenburg Concertos. We know from the opening of this dedication, dated March 24th 1721, that Bach had already met the Margrave of Brandenburg, at which time Bach had been invited to provide some orchestral music.

"Your Royal Highness; As I had a couple of years ago the pleasure of appearing before Your Royal Highness, by virtue of Your Highness' commands, and as I noticed then that Your Highness took some pleasure in the small talents which Heaven has given me for Music, and as in taking leave of Your Royal Highness, Your Highness deigned to honor me with the command to send Your Highness some pieces of my Composition: I have then in accordance with Your Highness' most gracious orders taken the liberty of rendering my most humble duty to Your Royal Highness with the present Concertos, which I have adapted to several instruments.... For the rest, Sire, I beg Your Royal Highness very humbly to have the goodness to continue Your Highness' gracious favor toward me, and to be assured that nothing is so close to my heart as the wish that I may be employed on occasions more worthy of Your Royal Highness and of Your Highness' service....".

There is some internal evidence in the music itself that Bach was intending to visit Berlin in person for the first performance of these works. There are for example some musicological errors in the scores – hardly something Bach would permit were he seriously dedicating music to a dignitary, particularly with the hope of prospective employment. The most noteworthy indication however is the missing middle movement of the third concerto. Bach, so his contemporaries frequently noted, would not even permit his performers to put in their own trills and elaborations; he would certainly not have left an entire movement to the whim of some distant performer about whose capabilities Bach knew nothing.

History shows no record of Bach's having subsequently visited the Margrave at his Brandenburg Court. There could be many reasons for this. The Margrave was not easily accessible as he was more frequently to be found in residence at his estates at Malchow than in Berlin. Moreover the death of Johann Kuhnau, Cantor of the Thomasschule at Leipzig in June 1722 opened the possibility of an appointment for Bach at Leipzig, perhaps more attractive to him than Berlin. Leipzig was situated in familiar territory where he already had many musical and courtly connections; in addition it had a famous university, and the three-times-yearly Trade Fair gave the city a distinctly cosmopolitan atmosphere.

The merits of various candidates to succeed Kuhnau were considered, and the Council eventually nominated Georg Philipp Telemann. However, the authorities at Hamburg would not release Telemann, and so the candidature was left pending. This position of Cantor at Leipzig had been favorably described to Bach, and as the town offered the necessary educational facilities for his sons, he applied for the post. The Council, after trying unsuccessfully to get a certain Christoph Graupner, old boy of the Thomasschule and Capellmeister at Darmstadt, eventually settled for Bach as a reasonable alternative.

Bach applied for his dismissal at Cöthen, and the Prince, regretting his departure but not wishing to stand in his way, quickly consented.

And so Bach left with his family and belongings for Leipzig, where he was to remain for the rest of his life.

Leipzig 1:1723-1729 – Cantor and Director of Music

Leipzig, with a population of 30.000, was the second city of Saxony, the center of the German printing and publishing industries, an important European trading center, and site of a progressive and famous university. It was also one of the foremost centers of German cultural life, with magnificent private dwellings, streets well paved and illuminated at night, a recently opened municipal library, a majestic town hall, and a vibrant social life. Outside its massive town walls were elegant tree-lined promenades and extensive formal gardens. The old-established university drew scholars and men of distinction from far and wide, and the famous book trade contributed much to the cultural life of the city. One of Leipzig's most important features was its international commerce. When the Leipzig Trade Fair was in progress, the respectable town was transformed into a show-ground mixing business with pleasure, and was popular with members of the Royal Court of Dresden. Many connections were established between nations on these occasions, and this in turn had a beneficial effect on the civic economy and culture as well as the international variety of its music.

Bach moved to Leipzig on May 22, 1723, where for the remaining 27 years of his life he was to live and work as Cantor, or Directore Chori Musici Lipsiensis – Director of Choir and Music in Leipzig. He would have known the town from previous visits, as he had come, for instance, in December 1717 to test the large new organ (53 stops) in the University Church, the Paulinerkirche, just completed by the Leipzig organ builder Johann Scheibe. Despite the Leipzig Council's almost disrespectful reticence in appointing him, Bach's arrival was clearly a major event in the musical and social world, and one North German newspaper described it in great detail: "Last Saturday at noon, four carts laden with goods and chattels belonging to the former Capellmeister to the Court of Cöthen arrived in Leipzig and at two in the afternoon, he and his family arrived in two coaches and moved into their newly decorated lodgings in the school building". The Bach family at that time comprised his wife and four children, of eight, nine, twelve and fourteen years of age. May 31, 1723, marked the inaugural ceremony for the new Capellmeister with the customary speeches and anthems, putting an end to six unsettled months for the city in filling the post.

The school of St Thomas was situated on the western wall of the town, not far from the imposing Pleissenburg fortress with its large tower on the south-western corner of the town wall. The school had around 60 boarders, aged between 11 and early 20s, and provided the choirs for at least four city churches. These boarders were mainly from deprived backgrounds and were maintained at the school on a charitable basis, and they also occasionally had to sing outdoors at funerals and in the city streets for alms.

Bach's apartment in the school was divided between the ground floor and the next two floors. From the window of his study (Componierstube) on the first upper floor of the Thomasschule, Bach would look out west over the town wall, to a magnificent view of the surrounding gardens, fields and meadows, a view about which Goethe later wrote "When I first saw it, I believed I had come to the Elysian Fields". Adjacent to the Thomas Schule was the narrow St Thomas gate (Thomaspförtchen) set in the town wall with a small bridge over the town's moat leading to a popular walk bordered with lime trees which followed the town wall between the moat and the Pleisse river. Along here were some of the eight Leipzig garden Coffee-houses situated outside the town, where much of the musical life of the city took place during the summer. Indeed the city was nicknamed 'Athens on the Pleisse', and offered many attractions for the summer holiday-makers in its well cared-for parks and pleasure gardens beside the river Pleisse and its idyllic surrounding countryside.

Though contemporary newspaper reports stated that the incoming Cantor's apartments were "newly renovated", the building itself, dating from 1553, was however, in a somewhat dilapidated condition; discipline was practically non-existent, the staff quarreled among themselves, and the living conditions were unhealthy. Parents were unwilling to send their children to a school where illness amongst the pupils was so prevalent, and consequently, there were only 54 scholars out of a possible 120.

The Cantor's duties were to organize the music in the four principal churches of Leipzig, and to form choirs for these churches from the pupi

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