XIE: Bach's Pupils and his Legacy

Bach had seven children from his first marriage with Maria Barbara, the daughter of Johann Michael Bach, a good composer, we read in the necrology. Three of them survived their father; the eldest daughter, Katharina Dorothea (1708-1774), Wilhelm Friedemann at that time musical director and organist in the Marktkirche at Halle and Carl Philipp Emmanuel Kammer Musikus to the King of Prussia.

Anna Magdalena Wülken had presented him with thirteen children. The eldest of the sons, Gottfried Heinrich (1724-1763), "a great genius who remained a child," became a kind of legendary figure. It was probably he of whom it was written that a certain David Bach, a simple-minded creature ignorant of all musical technique, improvised on the clavier strange, profound and melancholy poems which brought tears to the eyes. Elisabeth Juliane Friederike in 1749 married one of Bach's pupils, Johann Christoph Altnikol, organist of St. Wenceslas', Naumburg. Mention must also be made of Johann Christoph Friedrich, the "Bach of Bückburg," Johann Christian, the "London Bach," and two daughters, Johanna Caroline (1737-1781) and Regine Susanne (1742-1809). The other children died at an early age. (Their mother, Anna Magdalena, supported herself with great difficulty until 1760, being obliged to live on charity. The youngest of the daughters, Regine Susanna, also had a life of great hardship. In May, 1800, F. Rochlitz addressed an urgent appeal in her favor to the public in the Allgemeine Leipziger Musikzeitung. Thanks to Rochlitz and to the publishers Breitkopf and Härtel, the unfortunate heiress of the great Bach received the sum of 96 thalers, 5 groschen. The following year Beethoven, who had already been on the list of subscribers, gave one of his compositions to Breitkopf and Härtel asking them to give Regine Susanna his share of the profits from the sales of this work. A Viennese musician, Andreas Streicher, collected a further 200 thalers for the " good old lady.")

Bach trained a number of pupils. Johann Martin Schubert (1690-1721), Bach's successor in Weimar in 1717, was also one of his first pupils, as was Johann Kaspar Vogler. Also Johann Tobias Krebs, born in 1690 near Weimar; Johann Gottfried Ziegler, born at Dresden in 1688 and Bernhard Bach (1700-1743), the son of Johann Sebastian's eldest brother. Among his Leipzig pupils must be mentioned Heinrich Nicolaus Gerber, born in 1702, Johann Ludwig Krebs, son of the above-mentioned musician, Johann Friedrich Agricola, Gottfried August Homilius (1712-1785), Johann Philipp Kirnberger, Christoph Transchel (1721-1800), Johann Theophilus Goldberg, Johann Christoph Altnikol and Johann Christian Kittel.

The Composers (and some others, including friends)

Supplemental Materials

Poetry and Prose


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