Johann Christoph Bach (not a son of J. S. Bach, 1642-1703)

~ Person


Johann Christoph Bach (baptised 18 December [O.S. 8 December] 1642 – 31 March 1703) was a German composer and organist of the Baroque period. He was born at Arnstadt, the son of Heinrich Bach, Johann Sebastian Bach's first cousin once removed and the first cousin of J.S. Bach's father, Johann Ambrosius Bach. He was also the uncle of Maria Barbara Bach, J. S. Bach's first wife and second cousin. Johann Christoph married Maria Elisabeth Wiedemann in 1667. They had seven children, including four sons who became musicians: Johann Nicolaus (10 October 1669 – 4 November 1753), Johann Christoph Jr. (29 August 1676 – 1738), Johann Friedrich (1682–1730), and Johann Michael (1685–unknown). He is not to be confused with Johann Sebastian Bach's son, Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach.

Johann Christoph had a reputation as a composer that was only equalled by that of Johann Sebastian within the Bach family during his lifetime. He was organist at Eisenach and later a member of the court chamber orchestra there. His brother, Johann Michael Bach (Johann Sebastian Bach's father-in-law and Maria Barbara's father), was also a composer. Some of the works were later attributed to Johann Sebastian, but were recently recognized as written by Johann Christoph. One of the most famous works is the cantata Meine Freundin, du bist schön, based on the Song of Solomon.

Despite his success as a musician, Johann Christoph experienced financial difficulties, which may have resulted in his not having been selected as the guardian of Johann Sebastian when the latter's parents died. Yet Johann Christoph found the money to have his portrait painted in oil several times, including the well-known portrait of him that is on display in a Berlin museum. Johann Christoph was heavily in debt when he died at Eisenach. He died just ten days after his wife Maria died.

Sebastian Bach described him in his Genealogy (Ursprung, 1735) as "the profound composer", thus hinting at his reputation, not just within the family, but within society.

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1975Kompositionen für AltusTelemann, Christoph Bach, Buxtehude; Paul Esswood1
1984Kantaten aus dem Alt-Bachschen ArchivJohann Michael Bach, Georg Christoph Bach, Johann Christoph Bach; Capella Fidicinia, Hans Grüss1
1994Motetten/MotetsPachelbel, Johann Christoph & Johann Michael Bach; Cantus Cölln, Konrad Junghänel1
1998Puyana Plays BachJohann Sebastian Bach, Johann Christoph Bach, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach; Rafael Puyana1
1999German Church Cantatas and AriasDietrich Buxtehude, Johann Christoph Bach, Georg Philipp Telemann; René Jacobs, The Kuijken Consort, The Parnassus Ensemble41
2012Music for weddings and other festivitiesJohann Sebastian Bach & Johann Christoph Bach & Georg Böhm1
2015MotettenJohann Bach, Johann Christoph Bach, Johann Michael Bach; Vox Luminis, Lionel Meunier1
2015Oboe Quartets & Trio SonatasJ.C. Bach, C.P.E. Bach, Mozart, Stamitz, Vanhal, Goldberg; Perlman, Zukerman, Still, Harrell, Eddy, Sanders1
Geistliche Musik der Bach Familie, vol 5Johann Michael Bach, Georg Christoph Bach, Johann Christoph Bach; Capella Fidicinia, Hans Grüß1
Motetten der BachfamilieJohann Bach, Johann Christoph Bach, Johann Michael Bach; Philippe Herreweghe, Collegium Vocale Gent, Ricercar Consort, Johan Huys, Philippe Pierlot1

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