August 13, 2012
Bach and his Cities
The geographical boundaries of Johann Sebastian Bach’s life are surprisingly limited: a corner of northeastern Germany no larger than southeastern Texas from Beaumont to Austin. How could he compose music so international in scope?
Bach was drawn to the major cities of his world from an early age. He first visited Hamburg as a young teenager, seeking out an organist he admired. Later his own career as a renowned keyboard virtuoso would take him back there, as well as to Dresden and Berlin, where his final appearance was before Frederick the Great. These trips also afforded Bach the opportunity to attend concert and opera performances, bringing him in contact with an international cadre of performers and composers. From his position in Leipzig, Bach maintained close friendships with his colleagues; there was mutual exchange of performing scores, correspondence, and visits, serving as local sales agent for each other's works, and even serving as godparent for each other's children. These relationships enabled Bach to collect and study the works of other composers, learning not only from older masters, but from his own contemporaries.
The Bach Society’s new season follows Bach to four cities--Leipzig, Berlin, Hamburg and Dresden. Our concerts will trace his musical relationships, present works by composers who were important in the development of each city's musical culture, and look at how Bach's influence left a legacy into the following centuries.