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Guide to Bach Tour
Jena
[F]

Contents

Description | History
J..S. Bach: Connection | Events in Life History | Performance Dates of Vocal Works | Festivals & Cantata Series
Features of Interest | Information & Links
Photos: Part 1 | Part 2 | Maps

Description

Jena is a town in central Germany on the River Saale, about 23 km east of Weimar. With a population of about 103,000 it is the second biggest town in the federal state of Thuringia, afterErfurt.

Jena lacks its neighbours' charm and museum-Iike character. Yet, even industrialisation and GDR architectural sins can't keep a good college town down, and as it rebuilds, its friendly, funky spirit is coming back. Science buffs know about Jena in connection with the development of optical precision technology and names like Carl Zeiss, Emst Abbe and Otto Schott. It's a tradition that continues to this day; the city's economic landscape is dotted with corporations like Carl Zeiss Jena, Schott Jenaer Glaswerk, JENOPTIK and Jenapharm.

Country: Germany | State: | District: Urban district | Area: 114.29 km˛ | Population: 103,400 (December 2008)

History

Jena was first mentioned in an 1182 document. In the 11th century it was a possession of the lords of Lobdeburg, but in the following century it developed into an independent market town with laws and magistrates of its own. Economy was based mainly on wine production. In 1286 the Dominicans were established in the city, followed by the Cistercians in 1301.

The margraves of Meißen imposed their authority over Jena in 1331. From 1423 it belonged to Electoral Saxony of the House of Wettin, which had inherited Meißen, remaining with it also after the division of its lands in 1485.

The Protestant Reformation was brought into the city in 1523. In the following years the Dominican and the Carmelite convents were attacked by the townsmen. In 1548, the university was founded by elector John Frederick the Magnanimous.

For a short period (1670-1690), Jena was the capital of an independent dukedom (Saxe-Jena). In 1692 it was annexed to Saxe-Eisenach and in 1741 to the Duchy (later Grand Duchy) of Saxe-Weimar, to which it belonged until 1918.

At the end of the 18th century the university became the largest and most famous within the German states, and made Jena the center of idealistic philosophy (with professors like Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Schiller and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling) and of the early romanticism (with poets like Novalis, the brothers Schlegel and Ludwig Tieck). In 1794 the poets Goethe and Schiller met at the university and established a long lasting friendship.

On October 14, 1806, Napoleon fought and defeated the Prussian army here in the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt. Resistance against the French occupation was strong, especially among the town students, many of whom fought in the Lützow Free Corps in 1813. Two years later the Urburschenschaft fraternity was founded in the city.

At the end of the 19th century, with the building of the railway-line Saalbahn (along the river Saale) from Halle/Leipzig to Nürnberg, Jena became a center for precision machinery, optics and glass making, with the formation of the world famous companies Carl Zeiss Jena and Schott Jenaer Glaswerk, by Carl Zeiss, Ernst Abbe and Otto Schott.

In 1945, towards the end of World War II, Jena was heavily bombed by the American and British Allies. 153 people were killed and most of the medieval town centre was destroyed (though restored after the end of the war).

Part of the State of Thuringia from its foundation in 1920 on, it was incorporated into the German Democratic Republic in 1949 and its district of Gera in 1952. Since 1990, the city of Jena has been a part of the Free State of Thuringia in the united Federal Republic of Germany.

The university town of Jena has hosted a galaxy of German luminaries along its history. Among its famous residents were: Andy Glandt (banjo player), Friedrich Hegel, Karl Marx, Bernhard, Prince of the Netherlands (deceased 2004), Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, Friedrich August Froebel (inventor of the kindergarten), Ernst Haeckel (German evolutionary biologist/zoologist), Friedrich Hölderlin, Philipp Melanchthon (theologist), Martin Luther, Otto Schott (inventor of fireproof glass), Kurt Tucholsky (writer), Johannes R. Becher (German-American composer), Carl Zeiss (founder of the Zeiss company), Walter Eucken (founder of neoliberal economic theory).

 

Bach Connection

There is no documentation that J.S. Bach has ever visited Jena. However, a few members of the Bach family were associated with this town.

The composer, Johann Nicolaus Bach [27] (1669-1753), known also as the 'Jena' Bach, was the eldest son of Johann Christoph Bach [13] (1642-1703), and the most noteworthy musician of that line. He was also the uncle of Maria Barbara Bach (J.S. Bach's first wife). He received his early musical training at home and in 1690 he entered the University of Jena, pursuing his musical studies with J.N. Knüpfer. After a journey to Italy, he succeeded Knüpfer in 1694 as organist of the town church at Jena. The university authorities were however reluctant to allow him to act in addition as organist at the Kollegienkirche, as Knüpfer had done, and it was not until 1719 that he finally took on the double post of town and university organist. In 1703 he had refused an appointment in Eisenach as successor to his father, primarily, no doubt, because of the better salary in Jena, where he lived in modest prosperity. Possibly he was in contact with his relative Johann Gottfried Bernhard Bach during the latter's spell in Jena, 1738-1739 (see below). From 1745, in consideration of his age, he was provided with an assistant. In the Ursprung J.S. Bach called him 'present senior of all the Bachs still living'.

Johann Friedrich Bach [29] (c1682-1730), son of the composer Johann Christoph Bach [13] (1642-1703), had attended the University of Jena, before succeeding J.S. Bach as organist of St Blasius's church in Mühlhausen in 1708.

Johann Elias Bach [39] (1705-1755), the great grandfather of whom and of J.S. Bach was Christoph Bach [5] (1613-1661), studied theology at Jena from 1728 and at Leipzig from 1738. He lived with J.S. Bach as his private secretary, pupil and tutor of his younger children until 1742.

Johann Gottfried Bernhard Bach [47] (1715-1739) was the 6th child of J.S. Bach, and a pupil of his father. After serving as organist in Mühlhausen and Sangerhausen, he enrolled as a law student at the University of Jena on January 28, 1739, but died soon afterwards; the cause is unknown. According to Wolff, it seems unlikely that his father has ever visited him there.

No doubt an excellent organist who easily passed an audition, Bernhard had a very fine instrument at his disposal in Sangerhausen: the old organ his father had played in 1702 had by then been replaced by a new instrument by Zacharias Hildebrandt of Leipzig, a frequent collaborator with Bach, onetime apprentice of the renowned Gottfried Silbermann, and now ducal Saxe-Weissenfels court organ builder. But not even this attractive organ could bind the unsteady and restless Bernhard to Sangerhausen. In the spring of 1738, he suddenly disappeared from the scene without informing anyone of his whereabouts. The embarrassed and disappointed father expressed his despair in a letter that May to Friedrich Klemm:
<>
For quite a while, Bernhard left no trace; no one could find him - according to an inquiry by the town council, "not even his father, the Capell Director in
Leipzig." The distressed parents may not even have become aware of their lost son's matriculation in January 1739, as a law student at Jena University - an attempt on the part of the gifted young man struggling with obligation and inclination, intimidated son of a powerful father and uncertain of his own place in life, to turn things around? But only four months later, on May 27, shortly after his twenty-fourth birthday, Bernhard died "from a hot fever". Nothing beyond this is known of his illness, death, or burial.

Source: Christoph Wolff: 'Johann Sebastian Bach - The Leaned Musician', p399-400 (W.W. Norton & Company, 2000)

Events in Life History of J.S. Bach

Date/Year

Event

Leipzig (1731-1740)

Jan 28, 1739

Son Johann Gottfried Bernhard Bach registers at the University of Jena

Performance Dates of J.S. Bach’s Vocal Works: None.

Bach Festivals & Cantata Series: None.

 

Features of Interest

Zeiss Planetarium Jena: the oldest planetarium in the world.
Markt (Market Place): Last remaining ensemble of the old town.
Rathaus (Town Hall) (13th century): Astronomic clock with the "Schnapphans" (snatching Hans), one of the "Seven Wonders" of Jena.
Stadkirche St. Michael (St. Michael Town Church) (1506): Gothic "Hall Church" with bronze slab for Martin Luther’s grave, accessible church dome and altar underpass (one of the "Seven Wonders" of Jena), was used as military hospital in 1806.
Hanfried: Statue of the Electoral Prince Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous (founder of the university). The market place served as assembly point for soldiers in 1806.
Schiller’s Summer House: Residence of Friedrich Schiller, Professor at the University of Jena.
Schiller Church: Place of the marriage of Friedrich Schiller and Charlotte von Lengefeld (1790).
Goethe Memorial in the Botanical Gardens: Former inspector’s house, memorial honours Goethe as poet, statesman and natural scientist in Jena.
University of Jena (1558): Collegium Jenense (former monastery) is the founding place of the university.
Medieval city fortification with Powder Tower (13th/14th centuries): The medieval city wall ensemble with the prominent Johannisgate and Powder Tower still is an impressive example of the historical fortifications of the city.
JenTower: The town’s landmark, shaped like a cylindrical ocular, was built as a research building for the GDR.
Stadtmuseum Göhre
Optisches Museum

Information & Links

Jena Tourist Information
Johannisstraße 23
D-07743 Jena

Tel. +49 (0) 36 41 / 49 80 50
Fax +49 (0) 36 41 / 49 80 55
tourist-info@jena.de

Stadt Jena (Official Website) [German]
Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena [German]
Friedrich - Schiller - Universität Jena [German]
Jena Online [German]
Jena (Wikipedia) [various languages]
Cityreview: Thüringen > Jena [German]
Jena (Meinestadt) [German]

 

Prepared by Aryeh Oron (March 2004 - December 2009)

Guide to Bach Tour: Main Page | Life History of J.S. Bach | Performance Dates of J.S. Bach’s Vocal Works | Maps | Route Suggestions | Bach Organs | Discussions of Bach Tour
Places: Altenburg | Ammern | Arnstadt | Bad Berka | Berlin | Brandenburg | Bückeburg | Celle | Collmen | Dörna | Dornheim | Dresden | Eisenach | Erfurt | Gehren | Gera | Gotha | Halle | Hamburg | Heiligengrabe | Jena | Karlsbad | Kassel | Kleinzschocher | Köthen | Langewiesen | Leipzig | Lübeck | Lüneburg | Meiningen | Merseburg | Mühlhausen | Naumburg | Ohrdruf | Pomßen | Potsdam | Ronneburg | Sangerhausen | Schleiz | Stöntzsch | Störmthal | Taubach | Wechmar | Weimar | Weißenfels | Weißensee | Wiederau | Zeitz | Zerbst | Zschortau

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Last update: ýDecember 30, 2009 ý08:33:04