Johann Sebastian Bach - Chiesa Evangelica Luterana in Italia

Johann Sebastian Bach

“For Bach, music was a religion, he wrote creeds to play them in the service.” Leonard Bernstein aptly summed up with this sentence the importance of faith in the compositions of JS Bach. However, the religious situation was in Germany at the time when Bach was born, in 1685, extremely unstable:

The 30 Years War (1618-1648) had been started because of irreconcilable religious conflicts between Catholics and Protestants and ended up as a power struggle, which weakened Germany. After the severe damage caused by the war, it is mainly the courts of princes who run the country’s reconstruction. Religious conflicts have not been resolved at all. Even in 1685, about half a million Protestant Huguenots lived in France. Various Christian forms developed: in addition to the orthodox Protestanism, a Catholic mysticism also became important. The fundamental position of the baroque composers of sacred music is described by Johann Mattheson in 1739 as follows: The purpose of music is to praise God through song and sound every day and at all hours. All the other arts, except theology and his daughter, the music, are dumb. Even remotely touched by the hearts and souls so strong and varied .. “ Even Bach praised continually God in his works.

His first organ book is overwritten with the title: The honour is for the supreme God alone, He is teaching others. Author: Joanne Sebast. Bach, P.T. Capellae magistri S.P.R. Anhaltini-Cotheniensis “.

Bach’s musical involvement as court organist, concert master and cantor at the courts to Arnstadt, Köthen and Leipzig included secular and sacred music. It was expected from him to write a cantata, a vocal or an organ work every month.

Beside his profession Bach was interested and also educated composer in theology. He had a respectable theological library of nearly 100 volumes, including Luther’s Table Talk and the Manual of Piety, as well as numerous other writings of Protestant theology. His works were written not only for the glory of God. In his free time, he was dealing with all aspects of faith, due to this, he was extremely informed in theology.

Johann Sebastian Bach was deeply rooted in the Lutheran faith. In his chorales, the Bible and traditional orthodoxy are represented passionately. He understood as an image of creation, played for the glory of God and for the edification of the mind Even his purely instrumental music. So there are always relations between secular and sacred music. In cantatas instrumental movements that seem to come as from one of the Brandenburg Concertos, but also plays the trumpet in the highest terms the chorale “What God does is well done.”

Although Bach was rooted in a Protestant denomination, in St. Matthew Passion and the Catholic Mass in B minor he showed he is a non-denominational Universalist.

Pastor Sebastian Zebe