(Barbara Katherina, second cousin of Johann Sebastian Bach and elder sister of Maria Barbara, Bach’s future wife recounts Bach’s trip to Lubeck)
My dear sister, Maria Barbara, have you heard the news? Our JS has just gotten permission to go to Lubeck to hear the celebrated organist, Dietrich Buxtehude at St. Mary’s. He has been talking about this trip for so long and now the city council has given him four weeks right during Advent to go to Lubeck. Of course, he has asked our cousin, Johann Ernst to substitute for him here at the Neukirche, so the music there will go on as usual. JS tells me he is going to walk the 200 miles to hear the great Buxtehude and his Advent Abendmusik concerts.
Finally, just when I had nearly given up hope and had started thinking the rumor was true that Johann was going to marry Herr Buxtehude’s old daughter, Anna Margareta, so he could get the organist position at Lubeck, he has returned. Did you realize he had been gone sixteen long weeks from his position at the Neukirche? Let me tell you, the authorities knew just how long Johann Sebastian had been gone and they are mad. They have argued and argued with JS but he is not apologizing for his behavior and the length of his absence. And really why should he, our cousin Johann Ernst filled in quite nicely at the Neukirche while he was gone.
(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.)