The story of organ music

The Walter Scott Publishing Co., ltd.



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The Walter Scott Publishing Co., ltd.
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Dec 31, 1905
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Organ music
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Charles Francis Abdy Williams


The position of Johann
Sebastian Bach as one of a numerous family of musicians is unique. Of no other
composer can it be said that his forefathers, contemporary relations, and
descendants were all musicians, and not only musicians, but holders of very
important offices as such. All his biographers have therefore given some account
of his family antecedents before proceeding to the history of his life; and I
have found myself obliged to follow the same course. In other respects I have
adopted the plan made use of by the older biographers, of keeping the account
of his life distinct from that of his compositions.

Every biography is
necessarily based on that written by his two sons, four years after his death,
published by Mizler, and the one published in 1802 by Forkel, who was intimate
with the sons. Hilgenfeldt’s account follows these, and in later years further
information has been acquired from the searches into archives, and other
ancient documents, by C. H. Bitter and Philipp Spitta. Any details concerning
the life and works of this remarkable man are interesting; and it is probable
that researches will be continued for some time to come. Thus, last year (1898)
a “celebration” took place at Ohrdruf in memory of Bach’s school career there;
and[vi] Dr Friedrich Thomas took the opportunity of publishing some details of
the Bach family which had escaped Spitta.

The name of Bach is
reverenced by Thuringian organists, and I this year had interesting
conversations with his successors at Arnstadt and Mühlhausen, Herr Kellermann
and Herr Möller. But the chief music-seller at Arnstadt told me that “Bach’s
music is out of date; no one has now any interest in such old-fashioned

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