Composer and Organist Johann Sebastian Bach Died in 1750
The composer of the late Baroque period is known for his works for solo cello and violin, Brandenburg Concertos, Goldberg Variations, and St Matthew Passion
German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist Johann Sebastian Bach died on this day in 1750, aged 65.
Bach is an exemplar of the late Baroque period, known especially for his mastery of counterpoint, canon, and fugue. His most popular works include his Suites for Solo Cello, Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, Brandenburg Concertos, Goldberg Variations, the Well-Tempered Clavier, and the St Matthew Passion.
During his lifetime, Bach was known primarily as a keyboard virtuoso, in which capacity he amassed a significant amount of fame and esteem. He also held a number of posts as a church organist and Kapellmeister, and much of his music — especially the cantatas, which stand at the center of his output — was written for this liturgical setting.
Although Bach wrote both religious and secular music, he was deeply influenced by his Lutheran faith. He famously signed many of his works with the initials "S. D. G." — short for soli Deo gloria (glory to God alone), which was one of the central tenets of the Reformation.
Bach's modern-day reputation owes its beginnings to the Bach Revival, a movement deriving from the first half of the nineteenth century which saw a renewed interest in his work after a period of neglect following his death. This interest was fueled both by the Romantic movement's fascination with the past, and by growing German patriotism and nationalism brought on by the Napoleonic period.
Felix Mendelssohn was a key figure in the Bach Revival, and famously revived the composer's St Matthew Passion in a performance at the Berliner Sing-Akademie in 1829.