Dr. Jeannine Jordan, Concert Organist

Posts tagged ‘Dornheim’

The Bach Wedding Church in Dornheim

On 17th October 1707 a wedding party made its way from Arnstadt (Germany) to Dornheim, three kilometres away.  The betrothed couple was none other than Johann Sebastian Bach and his second cousin Maria Barbara Bach.  Young Bach’s friendship with the pastor of Dornheim, Johann Lorenz Stauber, was doubtless the main reason for choosing the little village church for this happy occasion.  Despite numerous repairs Bach’s wedding church was by 1996 in such a desolate state that even demolition was considered.  At this point determined villagers got together with the aim of rescuing the building and providing for a comprehensive restoration.  Today thousands of visitors from Germany and all over the world come to see this now well known memorial to Bach.” (Juergen Frey of Dornheim.)

On August 20, 2012, I was privileged to present an organ concert in this lovely village church.  The program, “A Musical Tour of Bach’s Life”  included some of JS Bach’s best-known and well-loved compositions including the Toccata in d minor, various chorale preludes, several secular pieces, and the great St. Anne Fugue. The audience was delighted with this sampling of Bach’s great music while enjoying the lovely surroundings of this historic Bach wedding church.

The organ, in a lovely Baroque case, was built by Schoenefeld in 1996. It is a two manual and pedal tracker instrument of 19 stops.

Our hosts for our stay in the village of Dornheim were Rosemarie and Juergen Frey, two of those determined villagers who rescued this now famous and well-loved Bach landmark.

(Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist and with David Jordan, creator and performer of the organ and media event, Bach and Sons.)


A Wedding in Dornheim

(The year in Muhlhausen as told by Maria Barbara Bach, JS Bach’s first wife)

Bach Wedding Church in Dornheim

Johann Sebastian Bach and I were married on October 17, 1707.  It was a lovely affair starting in Arnstadt and continuing in Dornheim four miles away.  We had such a grand time walking with all our family and friends to the little village church in Dornheim where a friend of the family married us.

After our celebration, we immediately moved to Muhlhausen where Johann had already begun his work several months earlier.  I will now be with Johann to support him, provide a home for him, and to encourage him in all his musical efforts.

Things are definitely looking up in Muhlhausen.  Students have started coming to Johann Sebastian asking for lessons.  If you are a genius, it is a gift to be taught by Johann Sebastian Bach.  If not…well things can be a little tough.

However, now that we are settled in Muhlhausen, we are finding that the congregation at St. Blaise’s is basically Pietist.   We now know that Pietists believe in extreme simplicity – simplicity in everything including their music.   I am told they are afraid of the excessive use of music and art in worship, with its temptations to worldliness.  Some church people even wanted a complete ban on instrumental music in the service.  This was not good, because what my Johann plays for them is his wonderful but complex contrapuntal music.

I have begun to wonder if St. Blaise’s in Muhlhausen is such a good place for us or not.  What were they thinking when they hired my Johann Sebastian Bach?

(The anecdote 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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