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Johann Michael Bach (13) (Composer)

Born: November 9, 1745 - Struth, near Schmalkalden, Thuringia, Germany
Died: 1820 – Elberfeld, Germany

The German composerr, Johann Michael Bach, was descended from a Hessian line of Bachs that can be traced back to a Caspar Bach (d Struth, c1640) and already had many branches in the 17th century. It is probable, but cannot be proved, that this line was originally connected with the main Wechmar line of the Bach family.

Johann Michael Bach evidently went on his travels at an early date, and in about 1767 visited Holland, where he was in touch with the Amsterdam music publisher Hummel; he then went to England and America. On his return he studied law in 1779-1780 at the University of Göttingen, where he met J.N. Forkel, and from 1781 at Leipzig University. He was practising as a lawyer in Güstrow, Mecklenburg, in 1790 but composed music at the same time, and in 1793 (or earlier) he was appointed Kantor and organist in Tann. He was then active as a music theorist and composer in Elberfeld, and when he died there he was employed as a music teacher at the Gymnasium.

As well as an early set of piano concertos (the finale of No. 6 is a fugue on B-A-C-H), Johann Michael Bach published a treatise in 1780 which had a surprisingly wide distribution in its time. His musical style is reminiscent of that of Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach [49] and rather derivative. Two of his sons were also musicians, Johann Georg and Georg Friedrich.


Source: Oxford Music Online (Grove) (Author: Christoph Wolff) [accessed: July 17, 2011]
Contributed by
Thomas Braatz (July 2011)

Johann Michael Bach (13): Short Biography | Arrangements/Transcriptions: Works | Recordings


H. Lämmerhirt: ‘Ein hessischer Bach-Stamm’, BJb 1936, 53–89
H.-J. Schulze and C. Wolff : Bach Repertorium (forthcoming)

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