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Johann Christoph Bach

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Biography

Johann Christoph Bach (December 6, 1642 – March 31, 1703), was a German composer of the Baroque period. He was born at Arnstadt, the son of Heinrich Bach, Johann Sebastian Bach’s great uncle, hence he was Johann Sebastian’s first cousin once removed. He was also the uncle of Maria Barbara Bach, J. S. Bach’s first wife.

Johann Christoph had a reputation as a composer that was only equalled by that of Johann Sebastian within the Bach family during his lifetime. He was organist at Eisenach and later a member of the court chamber orchestra there. His brother, Johann Michael Bach (Johann Sebastian Bach’s father in law and Maria Barbara’s father), was also a composer. Some of the works were later attributed to Johann Sebastian, but were recently recognized as written by Johann Christoph. One of the most famous works is the cantata “Meine Freundin, du bist schön”, based on the Song of Solomon. His eldest son, Johann Nicolaus Bach, was also a composer.

Despite his success as a musician, Johann Christoph experienced financial difficulties, which may have resulted in his not having been selected as the guardian of Johann Sebastian when the latter’s parents died. Johann Christoph was heavily in debt when he died at Eisenach.

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