VIOLA part from PRAELUDIUM AND FUGE IN C moll for strings

Composer
JOHAN SEBASTIAN BACH
Duration
3 minutes
Genre
Classical music

Bach was at the peak of his mastery, and it is therefore not to be wondered at that Johann Mattheson , in the earliest reference in print to Bach, commented: 'I have seen things by the famous organist of Weimar, Herr Joh. Sebastian Bach, both for the church [i.e. cantatas] and for the hand [i.e. keyboard music] that are certainly such as must make one esteem the man highly' ( Das Besch?tzte Orchestre, Hamburg 1717). In the year 1717 also occurred the contest in improvisation with the French virtuoso Louis Marchand at the court of Dresden, in which Bach was brilliantly victorious (in fact the competition never took place because Marchand refused to participate). So it is only understandable that Bach must have felt himself neglected in the appointment for the post of court Capellmeister in Weimar on the death of Johann Samuel Drese (Drese's son received the appointment). He accepted an equivalent offer from the court of C?then and left Weimar in anger, after a month's arrest 'for his stubborn forcing of the issue of his discharge.'

From mid-December 1717 in C?then Bach was completely absorbed in his new sphere of work as Capellmeister to the prince's court, under an intelligent ruler who was a musical enthusiast. The emphasis of his work lay in the instrumental field, now principally in the sector of orchestral and chamber music. For this he relied on a picked ensemble largely consisting of Berlin musicians, with which it was possible to play the finest and most difficult pieces. Early in 1719 he procured from Berlin a new large harpsichord, which then was presented at the court in the 5th Brandenburg Concerto. He produced concertos for all kinds of instrumentation, over and above the conventional, but also accompanied and unaccompanied solo works, particularly for violin, violoncello and viola da gamba. In addition he composed two major keyboard works, the Inventionen und Sinfonien and the first part of the Well-Tempered Clavier. Vocal music plainly fell behind, although he wrote various occasional works, of which however only the texts have been preserved.

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