Janneke Hoogland, cello
Prelude to Worship
Allemande from Suite No. 3 in C Major for solo cello by J.S. Bach (1685-1750)
Sarabande from Suite No. 3 in C Major for solo cello by J.S. Bach
Bourrees 1 and 2 from Suite No. 3 in C Major for solo cello by J.S. Bach
J.S. Bach is considered by many music scholars to be the greatest composer of all time. His ideas about musical form and harmony continue to influence generations of music makers. Bach wrote more than 1100 works including pieces for organ, harpsichord, chamber music, cantatas, masses, orchestral works, and solo instrumental works such as the six cello suites.
Here is a brief overview of Bach’s life up until the time he wrote the cello Suites around 1720, highlighting a few interesting facts you may not know.
Bach was an 8th generation musician, having been taught to play the violin by his father. Three of his five brothers were professional musicians and five of his children became successful composers. At the tender age of ten years old, Bach lost both of his parents. His older brother, Johann Christoph, taught young Johann to play the organ. At the age of 15 his beautiful singing voice earned him a scholarship to St. Michael’s School in Luneberg. Three years later he performed an inaugural recital on the new organ upon which he was offered his first job as organist at New Church in Arnstadt. After accepting the offer, he found out he was also expected to teach a student choir and orchestra which he was less than thrilled about. Four years later Bach became organist of the Church of St. Blaise in Muhlhausen.
Bach then married his cousin Maria Barbara, and had seven children with her. Two of their sons also became famous composers: Wilhelm Friedemann, and Carl Philipp Emanuel. In 1708 Bach took a job as court organist in Weimar for Duke Wilhelm Ernst during which time he composed the well known and much loved Toccata in D minor. In 1714 Bach performed for the Crown Prince Fredrick of Sweden who was so amazed by his playing that he gave him a diamond ring as a token of his respect and admiration. Bach requested release from his position with Duke Wilhelm on short notice in 1716, desiring to work for Prince Leopold of Cothen. This angered the Duke who had Bach arrested and put in jail for several weeks. When he was released from jail, Bach became the conductor of the court orchestra in which Prince Leopold played.
Bach’s wife Maria died suddenly in 1720 while he was away with Prince Leopold. In 1721 he married Anna Magdela Wulcken, and had thirteen children with her. Bach’s deep Christian faith was evident even in his secular music. He inscribed his manuscripts with the initials “INJ”, a Latin abbreviation for In Nomine Jesu, or “in the name of Jesus.”
– Janneke Hoogland