Unknown Work by Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach Discovered
In the process of cataloging the manuscripts of Group IV in the Hessian Music Archive in Marburg (D-MGmi), a previously completely unknown pièce d'occasion by Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach came to light. The second-youngest son of Johann Sebastian Bach and the court Kapellmeister in Bückeburg (near Hanover), he dedicated a seven-verse song for soprano and cembalo to his soon-to-be sovereign and later keyboard pupil Juliane of Hessen-Philippsthal (1761–1799) on the occasion of her marriage to Philipp II, Count of Schaumburg-Lippe in 1780. In this piece, she is greeted and congratulated upon her arrival at the Hagenburg, the count’s summer residence (verse 6), as the “fair mother of the people” (holde Landesmutter). In verse 4 we find: “What children are to mothers, we are to her, we are devoted to her” (Was Kinder Müttern, sind wir ihr / Die wir uns ihr ergeben). In fact, Juliane became a popular and successful ruler due to her commitment and dedication. After only seven years of marriage she, having become a widow, became regent for her son and led until her death. This lovely composition, with a prelude as well as refrain-like interludes, could have ended up in Juliane’s family as a calligraphic copy for documentation purposes. The possibility of this piece being an autography copy is unlikely after handwriting comparisons by the Bacharchiv Leipzig (Dr. Christine Blanken).
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