Dr. Jeannine Jordan, Concert Organist

Archive for March, 2011

Eisenach and Eisenstadt

The two lovely villages of Eisenach and Eisenstadt hold lasting importance in the music world because of the two famous composers who made these villages their homes.  However, because of the similarity of the village names, in my mind anyway, they are easily confused.

Eisenach, in the East Central part of Germany, is the birthplace of Johann Sebastian Bach.  Johann Sebastian was born to parents Elisabeth and Ambrosious Bach on March 21, 1685.  By the age of ten, however, the young boy was orphaned with the loss of both his mother and father within months of each other.  Upon their deaths, he was sent by foot to Ohrdruf to live with his brother Johann Christoph.  Hence, JS Bach’s time in Eisenach was short from 1685-1695.Part of Bach and Sons event

However, today in Eisenach there is a gorgeous Bach Museum occupying the Bach home of  the late 1600’s and a new attached building.  The displays in this amazing museum are 21-st century cutting edge interactive exhibits.  One can experience Bach in many different ways from walking through the garden he must have played in as a boy and ducking through low hung doorways where the Bach family lived to sitting in pod chairs immersed in a Brandenburg concerto or interacting with period dressed musicians presenting mini-concerts on instruments such as the Bach family played.  It is a must see, must experience museum for the Bach lover.

Eisenstadt, a lovely village on the Eastern border of Austria, was the home of Franz Joseph Haydn.

Here Haydn served as the Hofkapellmeister under the patronage of the Hungarian noble family, the Esterhazys.  Haydn was an established part of this community and made his home in Eisenstadt from 1761-1790.

Two lovely villages with their castles, palaces, and timbered homes are remembered most for their famous musicians whose music after several centuries lives on in our hearts and souls:  Eisenach for Johann Sebastian Bach and Eisenstadt for Franz Joseph Haydn.

It has been my pleasure to visit both these villages and immerse myself in the music of these great masters in my travels as a concert organist.


Happy 326th Birthday Johann Sebastian Bach

Bach and Sons

326 years ago today Johann Sebastian Bach was born to Elisabeth and Ambrosious Bach in the small village of Eisenach, Germany.  It was Johann Sebastian’s destiny to become a musician.  After all, his great-grandfatherVitus started the musical Bach tradition when he took up the lute to while away the time at his grist mill.   His father Ambrosious was a stadtpfeifer, or wind player, well-known in the city and the court of Eisenstadt.  So it was that Ambrosious was dedicated to educating his son in the finer points of music.  He envisioned a life in the court as a violinist for his young son.

However, Ambrosious and Elisabeth died shortly after their young son turned ten years old leaving the young boy an orphan.  Fortunately, though, Ambrosious had trained his older son Christoph in music as well.  With Ambrosious’ death it was decided that the precocious and amazingly talented Johann Sebastian be sent to live with Christoph where he would continue his music studies.  And continue he did, studying scores of other composers and being tutored in theory and keyboard skills as well by his older brother.  With this background Johann Sebastian Bach started to compose.  What a musical legacy he left for the world!

Join us as we celebrate the life of this great composer and his family in our organ and media event, Bach and Sons in Salem, Oregon on Sunday April 3 at 4 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1444 Liberty Street SE.  You will not want to miss this event where I play the greatest music ever composed for the organ!

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