1st Edition

The Bach Family Seven Generations of Creative Genius

By Karl Geiringer, Irene Geiringer Copyright 1954
    564 Pages
    by Routledge

    When this volume was originally published in 1954 it was the first complete history of the Bach family from the 16th Century miller Veit to Wilhelm Friedrich Ernst (1759-1845), Johann Sebastian’s grandson. The author views the family as a whole and shows the characteristic similarities in their artistic and human attitudes as well as the most significant divergences. Equal stress is laid on the discussion of the personalities, against the swiftly changing historical scene, and on the music, for which the author was able to use vast, hitherto inaccessible material. Apart from describing the fascinating phenomenon of this musical family, the author gives a history of musical thought in the last 300 years.

    Part 1: The Rise of the Bach Family and the First Great Achievements Introduction: Ordeal in Germany 1. A Miller, A Jester, A Piper 2. The Founder of the Erfurt Dynasty 3. Two Bachs at Arnstadt. Musical Trends in the 17th Century. The Compositions of Johann and Heinrich Bach. 4. Heinrich’s Two Great Sons. The Music of Johann Michael Bach. The Music of Johann Christoph Bach. 5. The Triple Team of Bach Brothers. Part 2: Expansion and Culmination (1700-1750) Introduction: Particularism and Universalism in Germany 1. The Jena and the Mühlhausen Bach. The Music of Johann Nicolaus Bach. 2. The Descendants of Johann Bach. The Music of Johann Bernhard Bach. 3. The Meiningen Bachs. The Music of Johann Ludwig Bach. 4. Johann Sebastian Bach 1: Apprenticeship (1685-1703) 2: Years of Growth (1703-1708) 3: The Great Organist (1708-1717) 4. Court Conductor and Princely Friend (1717-1723) 5. Thomas Cantor and Director Musices at Leipzig (1723-1750) 6. Sebastian and His Family. The Music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Part 3: The Last Great Achievements and the Decline of the Bach Family (1750-) Introduction: Rococo and Classicism 1. The Halle Bach. The Music of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. 2. The Berlin and Humburg Bach. The Music of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. 3. The Bückerburg Bach. The Music of Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach. 4. The Milan and London Bach. The Music of Johann Christian Bach. 5. Two Painters at Meiningen. The Works of Gottlieb Friedrich and Johann Philipp Bach 6. Bachs at Eisenach. The Music of Johann Ernst Bach. 7. Sebastian’s Children and the Bach Family. 8. Two Grandsons of Sebastian. The Music of Wilhelm Friedrich Ernst Bach. Epilogue. Genealogical Table of the Bach Musicians.


    Karl Geiringer (1899-1989) was an Austrian-American musicologist, prolific author and Professor of Music at the University of California, Santa Barbara. 

    Original Reviews of The Bach Family:

    ‘He has written a valuable work, which is also very readable…An enthralling recondite, and well-constructed volume.’ Scotsman

    ‘Well and often entertainingly set out in what will surely become one of the classics of musical history.’ Christian World