Illustrated Retrospects

 

29th April 2022: The Swiss SRF radio program “Fiction, Fact or Fake – The Life of Anna Magdalena Bach” was broadcast. In preparation, the editor Elisabeth Baureithel had come to Leipzig to learn more about the Frau Capellmeisterin. We went together to places with a close connection to Anna Magdalena Bach, for example the old St. John’s cemetry (left photo) where she was buried in 1760, or the place where the family apartment used to be which is now the site of the Thomas House (right photo).

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19th March 2022: After two concerts in the Gewandhaus with Jaap van Zweden (Music Director of the New York Philharmonic), we had an interesting exchange about the St. Matthew Passion, during which we visited the place where it was first performed. There is also a connection between Anna Magdalena Bach and this work: she copied some of the parts.

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8th – 10th October 2021: The 46th Clavichord Days took place in Wittenberg. I was invited by the organising members of the German Clavichord Society. The clavichord is a fascinating instrument and I learned about the different variants. The highlights were the concerts. I was able to repay the wonderful experiences and pleasant conversations with a lecture on Anna Magdalena Bach.

 

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11th March 2021: Dr. Christina Fuhrmann, professor at the Baldwin Wallace University, Ohio and editor of the BACH journal of the Riemenschneider Institute, asked me to give a seminar on Anna Magdalena Bach. This was another special experience. Here I was, sat in Leipzig, giving a lecture in the USA. This was not completely new for me – I had done something similar with Prof. Dr. Barbara Reul (University of Regina, Canada). I subsequently heard that one student commented on my contribution with the words: “That was really cool”. Well, that was something!

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2nd October 2020: Anna Vinnitskaya recorded Johann Sebastian Bach’s piano concertos with Evgeni Koroliov and Ljupka Hadzu-Gorgieva.  She came to Leipzig as the soloist of the Gewandhaus Orchestra with her husband and was very interested to learn more about the Bach family. We had a lovely exchange of ideas in authentic locations and were able to confirm “Ei! wie schmeckt der Coffee süße” (“Oh! How sweet coffee tastes”), at least if you put enough sugar in it.

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21st and 22nd February 2020: Very nice days with my wife, full of interesting conversations and encounters at the Fürstenried Palace. Prof. Dr. Hubertus von Voß had invited me to the Xth Fürstenried Symposium, a medical congress, to provide the cultural part. My contribution on Anna Magdalena Bach was illustrated musically supported by my respected colleagues Michaela Hasselt and Dietrich Reinhold. Among other pieces, we played the Sonata for Violin and Continuo in G major (BWV 1021) which has only survived in a copy by Anna Magdalena Bach.

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October – November 2019: That was a very special concert tour. The last three concerts were played with several musicians from the Gewandhaus Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra - very harmonious in all senses! And the American Musicological Society was meeting in Boston at this time. I have wonderful memories of the time spent with Bach scholars such as Traute and Bob Marshall (photo: right and left), Mary Greer, Christina Fuhrmann or David Yearsely (on my left), Andrew Talle (I have omitted all the academic titles). A special highlight was the meeting with Christoph Wolff at Harvard University, which included a guided tour for me. Many Thanks!

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8th – 13th July 2019: In the English village of Madingley there is a stately home (Madingley Hall), now owned by the University of Cambridge. It is surrounded by beautiful gardens. The Bach Network held the 9th Johann Sebastian Bach Dialogue Meeting there. I had the opportunity to give a lecture on the subject of Anna Magdalena Bach (on my right, Prof. Dr. Stephen Rose). As this was the thesis of my Ph.D. this was within the “Early Careers Forum” (at 59 years I was the oldest). They were wonderful days in a magical environment with a lot of interesting encounters.

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May – June 2019: The program of this tour of Japan and China by the Gewandhaus Orchestra did not include any music by Bach. But for me personally there were some encounters in this respect. I was able to accept an invitation from Masaaki Suzuki to attend a concert by the Bach Collegium Japan in Kobe. In Tokio I met the Bach scholar Professor Dr. Ryuichi Higuchi and did an interview about my research which was subsequently published in the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on the 5th August. These were the highlights of a wonderful concert tour with many impressive memories.

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21st March 2019: My new book "Die verwitwete Frau Capellmeisterin Bach. Studie über die Verteilung des Nachlasses von Johann Sebastian Bach" was presented at the Leipzig Book Fair. This was together with the publisher Klaus-Jürgen Kamprad (right) and Dr. Peter Hoheisel, director of the Mining Archive in Freiberg (left). I had spent several days there during my research. The moderator was Werner Kopfmüller. It was a special pleasure that my 80-year-old parents could be there. The book is dedicated to my mother.

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23rd January 2018: This was an important day for my doctorate. I successfully defended my thesis "Die verwitwete Frau Capellmeisterin Bach. Studie über die Verteilung des Nachlasses von Johann Sebastian Bach "at the “Carl Maria von Weber” University of Music in Dresden. It was a special pleasure for me that many relations and friends who had accompanied my research over the years were there. I am especially grateful to my sponsor Prof. Dr. Michael Heinemann (centre) without whom this project would not have been possible, and my valued mentor Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Schulze (right) to whom I could go with questions. (We were obviously discussing a never-ending subject, even after the official debate.)

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1st – 5th October 2014: At the 17th International Mining and Montane Workshop in Freiberg I gave a lecture about the mine share owned by Johann Sebastian Bach. I had started to look into this in 2010 and found his name mentioned several times in documents in the Freiberg Mining Archive. In 2014 I received a sponsorship prize for my mining research from the Saxonia Freiberg Foundation and was able to publish the results in the periodical “Der Anschnitt” (a German periodical for montane history), among others. I found indications that in 1751 the widow Anna Magdalena Bach did not see a danger of falling into bitter poverty. That was the starting point for my dissertation, in which the main subject was the estate catalogue of Johann Sebastian Bach and the life of his widow.

The days spent at the workshop in October 2014 were fascinating for me. Half of each day was spent above ground with lectures, the other half with visits to mining institutions. The evenings were devoted to socialising and always started with the boisterous rendering of a traditional miners’ song.

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