Fall 1993

Volume VIII, Number 3

In This Issue

J. S. Bach and Pietism by Don O Franklin

In the previous article we described Bach's encounters with Pietism in his early years, beginning with his childhood in Ohrdruf and continuing until his appointment, at the age of eighteen, as organist in Amstadt in his native Thuringia. We left off our account when Bach took a leave from his position to travel to Lübeck in northern Germany. On returning home after four months - instead of the four weeks that had been granted him - he stated that he had remained in Lübeck in order to "gain an understanding of one problem and another connected with his art." Although the avowed purpose of his trip was to hear Buxtehude play the organ, it is clear that Bach arranged his visit to coincide with the annual perfonnance of the city's Abendmusiken, a series of concerts perfonned during Advent. There he heard a new style of music, one that, as we will see, had far reaching musical and theological implications for his career as a church musician.