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 Maria Barbara Bach

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Maria Barbara Bach

  • Birth 20 Oct 1684
  • Death 5 Jul 1720
  • Burial Cothen, Märkisch-Oderländer Landkreis, Brandenburg, Germany
  • Memorial ID 19401509

Folk Figure. The first wife and second cousin of composer Johann Sebastian Bach. Born in Gehren, Germany, she was orphaned at an early age and went to live with relatives in Arnstadt. Bach met her there after his appointment as church organist in 1703 and for a time they lived in the same house. Historians believe that when Arnstadt authorities reprimanded Bach in 1706 for inviting a "strange maiden" into the church organ loft to "make music", the woman in question was Maria. The following year Bach received a better-paying job at Mulhausen and he and Maria were married at nearby Dornheim in October 1707. The couple had a contented relationship and their years together at Cothen, beginning in 1717, were probably the happiest of the composer's life. Four of their seven children lived to adulthood, including future musicians Wilhelm Friedemann and the great Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. In May of 1720 Bach accompanied his employer, Prince Leopold, to a spa in Carlsbad. He returned nearly two months later to discover that Maria had died from a sudden illness and was already buried at Cothen's Old Cemetery (now called the Friedenspark). She was 35. In his grief he wrote the monumental "Chaconne", the fifth and final movement of the Partita in D minor for solo violin, which is still considered one of the most daunting and profound works in the instrumental repertory. In 1721 Bach married court singer Anna Magdalena Wilcken, who raised Maria's children as well as her own.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
  • Added: 16 May 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 19401509
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Maria Barbara Bach (20 Oct 1684–5 Jul 1720), Find A Grave Memorial no. 19401509, citing Friedenspark, Cothen, Märkisch-Oderländer Landkreis, Brandenburg, Germany ; Maintained by Find A Grave .