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