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Friday Night Organ--Bach the Weimar years.  


The Evil Genius
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1999
26/06/2020 6:13 pm  

Bach eagerly undertook his duties in Weimar. The Duke was a strong proponent of music as part of the Lutheran service, and he was a patron of the arts. (He did manage to keep his contacts in Mulhausen since his cousin Johann Freidmann took over his old job as organist. And upon the appointment of his cousin, Sabastian composed and dedicated the work Ein Feste Burg ist unser Gott BWV 720 to celebrate the occasion.)

The only issue was the organ of the Schlosskircke was a small instrument and Bach convinced the Duke to have it enlarged. Work began in 1708 and by 1712 it was completed. Although Bach worked for the Duke and lived in the castle he frequently traveled to neighboring towns to “test” new instruments. In 1710 Sebastian received a son, Wilhelm Friedmann. (In 1713 twins were born into the family but died a mere two years later). Life in Weimar was very pleasant but in 1713 Handel's old teacher Friedrich Zachau had died leaving the position in the Frauenkircke in Halle vacant. Bach applied for the position and was accepted. But he turned down the offer, first because it paid half what the Duke was paying him and the new instrument in the church lacked a '32 pitch rank in the pedal. (Unforgivable).

In 1714 Bach performed before Crown Prince Fredrick of Prussia in Kassel who was so impressed with his ability a jeweled ring was presented to Bach on behalf of the Prince. 1714 also saw the birth of Karl Philipp Emanual, and the next year Johann Gottfied Bernhard. As usual problems developed. Bach and the rest of the court were caught up in a dispute between the reigning Duke Wilhelm and his nephew August Ernst. Bach had been a music teacher to Ernst and the two had a close relationship. Due to the feud with the Duke all palace servants and members of the court were forbidden to associate with Ernst. Bach of course did as he liked and violated the Duke's prohibition so frequently and with such abandon that when the concert master of the Duke's private orchestra died instead of appointed Bach to the position the Duke decided to “teach him a lesson” and appointed another instead. In the face of this insult Bach was too stubborn and ill tempered to consider a rapprochement—instead he started looking for another position elsewhere.

August Ernst's wife Eleanor was the sister of Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cothen; a man who had long admired Bach and wished him to be the Kapplemiester of his court. It was a hard decision, Bach had lived in Weimar for nine years but in the end he accepted the offer to go to Anhalt-Cothen. Of course when you work for royalty you don't just resign—you must ask to be relived of your position and the Duke sensing the influence of his nephew in Bach's decision refused to allow him to resign. Sebastian hit on the idea of engaging in conduct that would in essence get him fired since he couldn't resign. So in 1717 he took an unapproved leave of absence to the city of Dresden.

As chance would have it his visit coincided with that of Louis Marchand, the famous court organist for Louis XIV whom had died two years previous. As the French organ school was a rival of the North German School a competition was suggested between Marchand and Bach. A Count von Flemming arranged for introductions and it was he who set up the competition. On the night of the performance Marchand was a no-show. It was rumored he had heard Bach practicing the day before and determined it was in his interest to skip town. Of course the French claim his hasty return to France was due to palace intrigues involving Louis XV—and the regent. Yeah sure.

As for music. Bach was required to compose a new church cantata every month. It took nearly four years but in the end there was a cantata for the entire liturgical year. These are called the “Weimar Cycle”. And here is the list:

・ Annunciatio (Mariae Verkündigung):, BWV 182 (performed on Palm Sunday 25 March 1714)
・ Jubilate (third Sunday after Easter):, BWV 12 (22 April 1714)
・ Pentecost: BWV 172 (Weimar version in C major: 20 May 1714)
・ Third Sunday after Trinity: , BWV 21 (C minor, Weimar: 17 June 1714; D minor, Köthen/Hamburg: 1720)
・ Oculi (Third Sunday of Lent): , BWV 54 (4 March 1714?)
・ 11th Sunday after Trinity: , BWV 199 (12 August 1714: Weimar version in C minor; re-staged in Köthen in a version in D minor)
・ First Sunday of Advent: , BWV 61 (2 December 1714)
・ Christmas , BWV 63 (25 December 1714)
・ Sunday after Christmas:, BWV152 (30 December 1714)
・ Sexagesima (Second Sunday before Lent):, BWV 18 (24 February 1715)
・ Oculi (Third Sunday of Lent): , BWV 80a (24 March 1715)
・ Easter: , BWV 31(Weimar version: 21 April 1715)
・ Cantate (fourth Sunday after Easter): , BWV 191 (19 May 1715)
・ Trinity: , BWV 165 (16 June 1715)
・ Fourth Sunday after Trinity:, BWV 185 (14 July 1715)
・ 20th Sunday after Trinity: , BWV162 (25 October 1716)
・ 23rd Sunday after Trinity: , BWV163 (24 November 1715)
・ Fourth Sunday of Advent: , BWV132 (22 December 1715)
・ Second Sunday after Epiphany: BWV 155 (19 January 1716)
・ 16th Sunday after Trinity:, BWV 161 (6 October 1715)
・ Second Sunday of Advent:BWV 70a (6 December 1716; in 1723 expanded to BWV 170 for Trinity XXVI)
・ Third Sunday of Advent: , BWV 186a (13 December 1716; in 1723 expanded to BWV 186 for Trinity VII)
・ Fourth Sunday of Advent: , BWV 147a (20 December 1716; in 1723 expanded to BWV 147 for Visitation)

Here are a few of them:


Beered by Old Buck