Johann Christoph Bach

(1642 –1703)

German organist and composer (instrumental and vocal). Eldest son of Heinrich Bach, hence first cousin of J.S. Bach's father, Johann Ambrosius Bach. Of the highest rank among the earlier Bachs. Born in Arnstadt, December 6, 1642, he was probably educated in music by his father. He was appointed organist of the Arnstadt court chapel in 1663, and two years later became organist of the Georgenkirche in Eisenach, where he worked for the rest of his life. From 1700 he was also chamber musician for the Duke of Eisenach. After years of continual quarrels over salary with town authorities, he died a debtor at Eisenach, March 31, 1703. He is to be distingished from Johann Christoph Bach (9), son of Christoph Bach and twin brother of Johann Ambrosius, J.S. Bach's father, and also from Johann Christoph (14), older brother of J. S. Bach.

Johann Christoph Bach composed motets, cantatas and vocal concertos, arias, and organ music (44 chorales with preludes). J.S. Bach, who admired his cousin's music, referred to him in the family history (the Ursprung) as "a profound composer."

Works in the Bach Archives:

Wedding-hymn for twelve voices, Es er hub sich ein Streit, a composition of great beauty; motet for 22 voices, for the festival of St. Michael; alto solo, with accompaniment of violin, 'cello, and bass; and two motets à 4.

In manuscript in the Berlin Royal Library there ia a motet à 8 for double choir, Lieber Herr Gott, wecke uns auf(1672); motet à 4 Ich lasse dich nicht;;motet à 8 Unsres Herzens Freude hat ein Ende; motet à 8 Herr, nun lassest du deinen Diener;Sarabande for clavecin with twelve variations; etc

A Partial Johann Christoph Bach Discography |  VIB: Clavier, Organ and Lute in the German Baroque | VIF: Spiritual Concerto and Church Cantata