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Elias Gottlob Haußmann: Johann Sebastian Bach (1748)

LEIPZIG.- Date a Bach manuscript yourself! Arrange the instrumental parts of a Bach hymn to your taste and experience the sound of Baroque instruments! The new Bach Museum offers its visitors many opportunities to become actively involved.

The life and works of Johann Sebastian Bach and his family are presented in an interactive multi-media exhibition. One of the highlights of the new museum is the treasure chamber, which holds original Bach manuscripts and other precious objects. Among the special exhibits, we present the organ console of an instrument examined by Bach himself in 1743 from the former Johanniskirche church, a casket with relics from Bach’s tomb and a cash box, which was recently discovered among the property of the Bach family.

The weekend of Bach’s 325th birthday on March 20 and 21, 2010 was the re-opening date of the extended and newly arranged Bach Museum Leipzig. The festival weekend started with a great public day on Saturday. Guided tours and concerts were offered as well as a variegated programme for the whole family. On Sunday, after a ceremonial act in the Old Cityhall, Federal President Horst Köhler officially handed the new Bach Museum over to the public. On this day also the traditional birthday celebration took place around the Thomaskirchhof. The opening weekend ended with a birthday concert at St. Thomas’ Church.

Bach’s start in Leipzig
Special exhibition from March 20 – August 22, 2010

Because he wanted to be able to perform a »well-regulated church music, to the Glory of God«, Bach decided in 1708 to leave Mühlhausen and take up a position at the court of Weimar. But neither there nor later in Cöthen was he able to dedicate himself to this goal exclusively. Only when he took over the cantorate of St. Thomas’s in Leipzig in 1723 was he able to make church music the focus of his professional life. With an impressive measure of selfdiscipline he spent the next four years composing a new cantata for the Sunday services almost every week. In addition he wrote two large-scale passion oratorios and a number of magnificent liturgical works – a repertoire that in its artistic substance and demanding virtuosity was without precedent in Leipzig.

In the first special exhibition in the re-opened Bach Museum you may get an impression of how Bach managed his enormous workload, which strategies he used, who supported him in accomplishing this exacting project, and how his church music was received by his contemporaries.

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(L) 'Johann Sebastian Bach' (1748) by German painter Elias Gottlob Haussmann during an exhibition held at the Bach Archive Center in Leipzig, Germany. The Bach Archive Center is reopened after two years of renovation. EPA/PETER ENDIG