This is Johann Ambrosius Bach. The father of Johann Sebastian Bach. And the grandfather of all children of Johann Sebastian Bach. He was already a musician in the fourth generation of the huge family of musicians. And that means that his father also made music, his grandfather and even his great-grandfather.
So right at the beginning: What, please, is the Frauenplan? In fact, that's where the Bach House in Eisenach is located. The answer? Simply a somewhat strange street name. But, more precisely: the name for a square. The Frauenplan is a large square in Eisenach. Today it is a parking lot, directly – really absolutely directly – in front of the Bach House and the Bach Museum and the second most famous Bach monument in the world.
Johann Ambrosius Bach and his brother Johann Christoph Bach. They are father and uncle of the siblings in the House of the Bachs in Eisenach. Both were musicians and as later Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, one of the most musical children of Johann Sebastian Bach, wrote in the "Necrology": "... they looked so much alike (... the brothers) that even the wives of the two could not tell them apart". Correct: I just couldn't let it go: Of course, there is only an oil painting of Johann Sebastian Bach's father (... left and right). But not of the uncle. But if both looked soooo similar, then two paintings next to each other would have looked ... exactly the same.
The Bach House in Eisenach on the Frauenplan is particularly looking forward to seeing children today. Because: If children played such a big role in the family of Johann Ambrosius Bach and if children of Johann Sebastian Bach played such a big role in his life and if the St. Thomas Boys Choir – all boys – in Leipzig played such a hugely important role in Johann Sebastian Bach's life for a whole 27 years ... then ... children are of course still very, very important today.
In Eisenach there is even a music educator for kids, and he guarantees that you will learn everything about the Bachs in Eisenach (... not about Johann Sebastian Bach and his children, but about Johann Sebastian's parents and his siblings). Of course, you will also learn a lot about the kids of Johann Sebastian (... none of them was born in Eisenach, of course, but somewhere else). And maybe soon you – together with your parents – will be the only ones in your school who know that Johann Sebastian Bach was not born in the Bachhaus. But just a few steps further in the direction of the city center. The Bachs lived there for exactly ten years, including Johann Sebastian. Then he moved to the oldest brother in Ohrdruf. With his older brother. So with the older brother of Johann Sebastian to the oldest of the three Bach brothers, the "Ohrdruf Bach". Why, you can read in one of the Bach short biographies. Or in the FAQ.
* Isn't that written in a wonderfully complicated way? So: There were three brothers, all sons of Johann Ambrosius Bach, the father of Johann Sebastian, who then lived together in Ohrdruf: The oldest of these three was already "out of the house" and worked in Ohrdruf. As a musician. More precisely? As an organist in the church. And the two younger brothers first lived with their parents in Eisenach. Then only with the father, also in Eisenach. When finally also their uncle and afterwards finally also their father died in short distance, then the two younger Bach brothers walked and moved in with the eldest Bach brother in Ohrdruf. Is that better? Good.
In any case, during a visit to the Bach House in Eisenach, there are not only several concerts for you every day – played on really old musical instruments – but afterwards you also have a great impression of how different a kitchen looked back then, how sparsely furnished children's rooms and living rooms were, and on which musical instruments the kids of Johann Ambrosius and his Elisabetha learned to make music. Did all the kids learn to make music? Johann Ambrosius certainly tried ... at least two of them succeeded wonderfully. That's what we know. Johann Sebastian's oldest brother even became a professional musician. And of course, Johann Sebastian anyway.
If you still have time after visiting the Bach House, you can also walk the short distance to the city palace, where Johann Ambrosius made music with the city pipers. When you explore it like this, it's really exciting to experience where they used to walk around 333 years ago and do their shopping, visit friends and celebrate festivals. And at these festivities, father Johann Ambrosius "performed" – that is, made music – and the mini Bach, that is, Johann Sebastian, sang along. This improved the Bach's household budget quite a bit. If you turn around there – if you stand in front of the city palace – you will see the imposing Georgenkirche (... the St. George Church). Take a look there, because there is another monument to Johann Sebastian Bach, albeit a very, very somber one. A few steps further on is the baptismal font, the very font in which Bach was baptized 333 years ago. If you can then go a little further (... first out of the church), just a few steps, then you will finally stand in front of the very school in which Johann Sebastian Bach was often absent from lessons. Some say he simply "took the day off," but a Bach biographer says it wasn't like that at all. Because Johann Ambrosius had urgently needed his son Johann Sebastian to make music. And earning money was simply more important than going to school at that time.
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