Dr. Jeannine Jordan, Concert Organist

Posts tagged ‘Arnstadt’

Who was that woman singing in the choir loft?

(Barbara Katherina, second cousin of Johann Sebastian Bach and elder sister of Maria Barbara, Bach’s future wife tells of her sister’s interest in Johann Sebastian Bach as her future husband.)

Maria Barbara were you in church yesterday?  Did you hear what our JS played?  I think it was an organ piece with our favorite chorale “How Brightly Shines the Morningstar” hidden in all those different sounding sections somewhere.  Our staid old congregation really did not like it did they?  I think our JS learned a lot from Herr Buxtehude and Herr Scheidt while he was in Lubeck don’t you?

Then to make matters worse, did you hear the hymn accompaniment he played on LOBT GOTT, IHR CHRISTEN?   Heavens, it was hard to sing that hymn with that wild accompaniment, if I say so myself.   Why I heard people complaining all around us.  They truly were confused.  Some even said they could not hear the melody.  I imagine all that new-fangled ornamentation, is not going to sit well with all those serious faced men.

Maria Barbara, please tell me you were not the woman someone heard singing to JS’s organ accompaniment in the church choir

The organ and loft of the Bachkirche in Arnstadt, Germany

loft the other day?  If it was you, you are in so much trouble!  First, you—a woman actually in the choir loft and second, horror of horrors, you were even heard singing in the choir loft!  Just think of the mess you have created now for our dear Johann Sebastian, and just when things were starting to settle down a bit.  What were you thinking?

Oh, so you have heard he is looking for another job?  And, why would our Johann need a different job?  So he can finally settle down and what?  Marry you, Maria Barbara?  Is that what you are thinking, my dear little sister?

(The story above is one of a dozen vignettes from the multi-media and organ program, Bach and Sons, presented by Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist.)

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Was that JS Bach who drew his sword?

(Barbara Katharina Bach, Johann Sebastian Bach’s second cousin and elder sister of Maria Barbara Bach describes life in Arnstadt.)

Bach sculpture by Bernd Gobel in Arnstadt

Maria Barbara, have you heard? Johann Sebastian was just in a fight. I happened to be walking down the street near the Neukirche when this brawl erupted and that awful bassoonist Gegenbach and our dear JS had come to blows. I think our cousin Johann got the best of that little bassoon player, though, as Johann drew his sword and just cut to tatters Gegenbach’s clothing! I was there! I saw it! And more than that, I am going to testify to the city authorities that the fight was not Johann Sebastian’s fault! Poor Johann Sebastian is just so bothered by those awful no-count untalented boys at that school. It is too bad he can’t just compose his beautiful organ music and be left alone.

The organ music dear Johann is composing now is so interesting. He tells me a wonderful composer named Georg Bohm that he met while he lived in Luneburg influenced him greatly. He just loves to compose variations on our wonderful hymns. Why sometimes just to be different, he puts the melody in the pedal in many of the pieces he is composing right now. He really is a genius that cousin of mine.

(This anecdote is one of a dozen vignettes from the organ and media event, “Bach and Sons” performed by Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist.

JS Bach takes a job in Arnstadt

(Barbara Katharina Bach, Johann Sebastian Bach’s second cousin and elder sister of Maria Barbara Bach, Johann Sebastian Bach’s future wife recounts Johann Sebastian’s move to Arnstadt.)

Maria Barbara, did you hear who is coming to town? It is Johann Sebastian, our dear cousin Ambrosius’ son. He has been away from Eisenach so long I am not sure I would recognize him. When his parents died he was sent to live with his brother Christoph in Ohrdruf for a few years, then I believe he was sent all the way to Luneburg for school. Lately, though I heard that Johann Sebastian had been playing the violin for the Duke’s court in Weimar.

Arnstadt City Square

Now, Johann Sebastian has just been appointed the organist at the Neukirche right here in Arnstadt where that incredible new organ was just built! I was told that the concert Johann Sebastian gave when he came to try out the new organ was simply astounding and the committee just had to appoint him organist! I think I also heard, though, that he has to conduct the boy choir at the Neukirche. I wonder if he knows about that? I really do hope Johan Sebastian is up to the task of working with those ornery boys at the school. They sing so badly and can just be so awful!

However, the best news of all is that Sebastian is coming to visit his relatives next week when he gets to Arnstadt. That means us! We will be seeing our dear cousin Johann Sebastian very soon. You know he will be living at the Mayor’s house, don’t you? I can hardly wait to see him again!

(The anecdote above is one of a dozen vignettes from the multi-media and organ program, Bach and Sons, presented by David Jordan, media artist with Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist.)

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