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Guide to Bach Tour
Weimar
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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 | Part 3: Churches | Maps | Computer Reconstruction of J.S. Bach’s Palace Church

Description

Weimar s a city in Germany mostly known for its cultural heritage. It is located in the German state of Thuringia, north of the Thüringer Wald, c25 km to the east of Erfurt, and southwest of Halle (Saale)e and Leipzig. For hundreds of years, Weimar was the spiritual centre of Germany. This is where great personalities from the history of art and culture lived, such as the famous poets Goethe and Schiller.The city also gives its name to the Weimar Republic.

Country: Germany | State: Thuringia | District: Urban district | Area: 84.26 km˛ | Population: 64,700 (December 2007)

History

The oldest record of Weimar dates from the year 899. Weimar was the capital of the Duchy (after 1815 the Grand Duchy) of Saxe-Weimar (German Sachsen-Weimar).

Weimar is one of the great cultural sites of Europe, having been home to such luminaries as Bach, Goethe, Schiller, and Herder. It has been a site of pilgrimage for the German intelligentsia since Goethe first moved to Weimar in the late 18th century. The tombs of Goethe and Schiller as well as their archives, may be found in the city. It is around the city of Weimar that Goethe's famous 1809 Elective Affinities is based.

The period in German history from 1919 to 1933 is commonly referred to as the Weimar Republic, as the Republic's constitution was drafted here because the capital, Berlin, with its street rioting after the 1918 German Revolution, was considered too dangerous for the National Assembly to convene there. Weimar was, beside Dessau, the center of the Bauhaus movement. The city houses art galleries, museums and the German national theatre. The Bauhaus University and the Liszt School of Music Weimar attracted many students, specializing in media and design, architecture, civil engineering and music, to Weimar.

During World War II, there was a concentration camp near Weimar, at Buchenwald, a little wood that Goethe had loved to frequent only 8 km from the city center. More than 55,000 prisoners entered the gates bearing the mottos "Jedem das Seine" ("to each his due") and "Recht oder Unrecht—Mein Vaterland" ("right or wrong—my fatherland").[citation needed] The Buchenwald concentration camp provided slave labour for local industry.

The European Council of Ministers selected the city as a European Capital of Culture for 1999.

On September 3, 2004, a fire broke out at the Duchess Anna Amalia Library. The library contains a 13,000-volume collection including Goethe's masterpiece Faust, in addition to a music collection of the Duchess. An authentic Lutheran Bible from 1534 was saved from the fire. The damage stretched into the millions of dollars. The number of books in this historic library exceeded 1,000,000, of which 40,000 to 50,000 were destroyed past recovery. The library, which dates back to 1691, belongs to UNESCO world heritage, and is one of the oldest public libraries in Europe. The fire, with its destruction of much historical literature, amounts to a huge cultural loss for Germany, Europe, and indeed the world. A number of books were shock-frozen in the city of Leipzig to save them from rotting.

 

Bach Connection

Weimar is the place where J.S. Bach composed a number of works whilst working as the chamber and court organist, including his famous toccatas.

One famous anecdote from the Weimar period tells of the time when Bach played the organ in a village church, and where the organist "must have been either Bach or the devil": At the age of nearly 30 he was already one of the most enigmatic music personalities, even outside the borders of the region. Johann Mattheson, a music author from Hamburg, wrote about him: "I have seen things from the famous Weimar organist, Mr. J.S. Bach, for the church as well as for the hand, and which are certainly done so that the man is much to be esteemed."

J.S. Bach came to Weimar for the first time in 1703. At that time he was employed for nearly six months as violinist in the private orchestra of Duke Johann Ernst. In 1708 he became both organist and chamber musician at the court of the Dukes Wilhelm Ernst and Ernst August.

J.S. Bach lived in the house of his concert colleague Adam Immanuel Weldig at Markt 16, where a memorial plaque hangs today. A close friendship also connected him to Johann Gottfried Watther who, as the 41 year old organist of the Town Church of St. Peter and Paul, formed the musical life in Cranach House Weimar. It was here that Bach's children were baptized, including Wilhelm Friedemann and Carl Philipp Emanuel; the godfather of the latter being Georg Philipp Telemann.

It was in Weimar that J.S. Bach's great organ works originated and it was here that he wrote his famous organ booklet which Albert Schweitzer described as being the "dictionary of the Bach tone language" and "one of the greatest events in music at all". In 1714 he rose to the position of Concert. Master and his job was to compose "new pieces each month" and to perform them. The result of this was 30 church cantatas and the "Hunting Cantata". During this time he also taught at least ten pupils and came into contact through Johann Gottfried Walther with the talented young prince Johann Ernst, the son of the former Duke Johann Ernst. When the Court Director of Music Johann Samuel Drese died, his son Johann Wilhelm became his successor. Bach, who also had reckoned on his chances of getting the position felt as if he had been passed over and tendered his resignation. However, Duke Wilhelm Ernst did not want to let him go. Because Bach insisted on his decision, he was detained for four weeks. In the end he was allowed to leave the town and went to Köthen.

The main place of his work as organist, the Palace Church in the Town Palace, fell victim to a fire. Next to the Red Palace, where the Court Chapel was housed, is the Bach bust by the sculptor Bruno Eyermann from Leipzig which was made in 1950. One of the oldest buildings is the Town Church of Sf. Peter and Paul. also called the Herder Church, this is where the children were baptized. Its famous altar painting originates from Lucas Cranach the elder.

Other famous persons associateed with Weimar

When J.S. Bach left Weimar in 1717, Goethe and Schiller had not yet been born. They later made the quiet town on the IIm world famous. However, other great personalities of this time are also closely connected to the name of Weimar: Wieland and Herder, Franz Liszt, Richard Slrauss, Friedrich Nietzsche, Henry van de Velde, Walter Gropius, Lyonel Feininger…

Whether it is the Goethe House, the Schiller House, the Wittumspalais, the Ducal Vault, the Bauhaus Museum, the Anna Amalia Library, the Nietzsche Archive: The visitor can literally trip over sights at every step. They give the town of the classics its unmlstakeable mark. That the shadow of Buchenwald falls on all the intellectual abundance, belongs to the ambivalent pictureof this place.

Events in Life History of J.S. Bach

Date/Year

Event

Prior J.S. Bach’s Birth (1600-1685)

Before 1642

Service of Christoph Bach [5] (1613-1661) (J.S. Bach’s grandfather) as court musician in Weimar

Lüneburg & Weimar (1700-1703)

Jan-June (or Mar-Sep) 1703

Laquery and musician at the court of Duke Johann Ernst of Saxe-Weimar

Weimar (1708-1717)

June 1708

Appointment as organist and chamber musician to the Court of Weimar

Dec 29, 1708

Baptism of daughter Catharina Dorothea

Nov 22, 1710

Son Wilhelm Friedemann Bach born

Jan 17, 1711

Godfather to Magdalena Dorothea Backer

Sep 27, 1712

Godfather to son of Johann Gottfried Walther

Feb 23, 1713

Birth of twins Johann Christoph (died Feb 23) and Maria Sophia (buried Mar 13)

Nov 27, 1713

Godfather to J.G. Trebs

1713

Orgelbüchlein partly composed

Mar 2, 1714

Appointment as Konzertmeister at Weimar

Mar 8, 1714

Birth of son Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

1714

Orgelbüchlein partly composed

May 11, 1715

Birth of son Johann Gottfried Bernhard Bach

1715

Orgelbüchlein partly composed

Nov 6-Dec 2, 1717

Four weeks arrest for “insubordination” in Weimar

Performance Dates of J.S. Bach’s Vocal Works

See: Performance Dates of J.S. Bach’s Vocal Works: 1713 | 1714 | 1715 | 1716 (about 30 Church Cantatas and the Hunt Cantata BWV 208).

Bach Festivals & Cantata Series

Festival (Link to Website)

Artistic Director

Years

Months

Place

BCW

Bach Biennale Weimar

Myriam Eichberger, Bernhard Klapprott

2008-

Jul

Weimar, Thuringia, Germany

BCW

Thüringer Bachwochen

Christoph Drescher

2005-

Mar-Apr

Thuringia, Germany

BCW

 

Features of Interest

Red Palace and Bach Memorial.
Goethe & Schiller statue.
Goethe’s dwelling-house: in Frauenplan, a Baroque residence built in 1709 containg various items of the poet’s estate.
Schiller’s dwelling-house.
Liszt House.
Cranach House.
Town Hall: rebuilt in neo-Gothic style in 1841 after several fires.
Municiplal church of St. Peter & St. Paul: with Cranach altar.
van der Velde Bauhaus University building
Royal Mausoleum: in the Historic Cemetry with the sarcophagi of Goethe and Schiller and the adjacent Russian Orthodox Chapel.
Market Square: with Town Hall, Cranach House and Town Hall extension building with Renaissance gable.
Royal Palace: housing the town’s art collections and the headquarters of the Weimar “klassik” foundation.
Belvedere Palace: with Rococo Museum containing collection of historic coaches and Tiefurt Palace as a memorial to classical Weimar.

Videos

Weimar US

Information & Links

Tourist-Information und Kongress-Service Weimar
Markt 10
D-99421 Wemar
Tel: +49-3643-24000 & 19433 / Fax: +49-3643-240040
Website: Weimar (Official Website) [German/English]
Email: tourist-info@weimar.de

Weimar (Wikipedia) [various languages]
Cityreview: Thüringen > Weimar [German]
Weimar/Thüringen (Meinestadt) [German]

Bach, J.S.: Weimar I (1703) (Timothy a. Smith)
Bach, J.S.: Weimar II (1708-1717) (Timothy A. Smith)
J.S. Bach Biography: Weimar (1708-1717)
CANTATAS of JS BACH
Weimar I 1703-1703 (Koster)
Weimar 2 1708-1707 (Koster)
The J.S. Bach Tourist 10: Weimar (Koster)
On the Traces of J.S. Bach: Weimar (Germany Tourism)
J.S. Bach Biographie: Arnstadt-Weimar 1703-1708 (Schlu) [German]
J.S. Bach Biographie: Weimar 1708-1717 (Schlu) [German]
J.S. Bach Education & Career: Weimar I 1703 (T.A. Smith)
J.S. Bach Education & Career: Weimar II 1708-1717 (T.A. Smith)
J.S. Bach Biography: Weimar (Carolina Classical)

 

Prepared by Aryeh Oron (October 2003 - December 2009)

Guide to Bach Tour: Main Page | Life History of J.S. Bach | Performance Dates of Bach’s Vocal Works | Maps | Route Suggestions | Discussions
Maps of Bach Places | Videos of Bach Places | Symbols (Coats of Arms) of Bach Places | Organs in Bach Places
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 29, 2009 ý18:44:18