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When the Halle authorities finally submitted the offer formally, they had added stipulations: in addition to a cut in salary, and heavier responsibilities (performances practically every day of the week), the new organist was to be prevented from moonlighting and required to write a cantata once a month. The final stipulation, that the chorales be accompanied "on the diapason with two or three other stops of soft quality, changing the stops for each verse, but never using the reeds or mixtures," was insulting to an organist of Bach's stature, and he promptly refused the offer. The jilted Halle authorities next indulged themselves in the professional indiscretion of writing Bach's employer to suggest that the reason he had entered into negotiation with them was to extort a higher salary from him. Bach fired off an angry letter informing the city of Halle that the salary it had offered was lower than that being paid by Wilhelm Ernst. Shortly therafter the Duke doubled Bach's salary.
Performs at Cassel and Leipzig
In 1714 Bach improvised for Prince Friedrich in the royal chapel at Cassel. The prince was so pleased that he withdrew a ring from his finger and presented it to the organist. Later that year Bach visited Leipzig, the city where he was destined to spend the last 27 years of his life. The purpose of this visit was to become acquainted with Johann Kuhnau, and Bach took advantage of the occasion to write a new cantata, Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, which he performed there. Two years later, when the Halle organ had been completed, and the authorities realized that they had treated Sebastian badly, he was invited, along with Kuhnau and Christian Friedrich Rolle, to test the new instrument--at that time one of the largest in Europe. Other than recommending minor modifications to the bellows, the experts found the organ to be in satisfactory condition.
Marchand Chickens Out
In the last year of his tenure at Weimar, Bach visited the court of Dresden at the same time as the famous French organist Louis Marchand. He had not been in Dresden long before court luminaries began disputing which of the two--Marchand or Bach--was the better improviser. A contest was quickly arranged for the next day. That evening Marchand sneaked into the chapel and eavesdropped as Bach practiced for the showdown. The next morning the French organist, having complained of an illness which required him to return home in the middle of the night, was nowhere to be found.
In 1717 Bach again became restless. It seems that when Drese died, Bach expected Duke Wilhelm to promote him to the vacated position of Kapellmeister. When the duke appointed Drese's incompetent son instead, Bach became dissatisfied and asked to be released from what was then considered to be a lifetime appointment to the ducal court. The Duke, it seemed, hated change; he would not promote Bach, but neither would he release him. Wilhelm was especially peeved that Bach wished to visit Cöthen, a city ruled by the in-laws of his hated nephew and heir. Bach renewed his petition repeatedly, to the point that he was finally arrested and put under detention until he should come to his senses. After four weeks the Duke finally came to his senses, releasing Bach not only from jail, but also to remove himself to the employ of Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen.
Revisits Weimar Eleven Years Later
Bach did not return to Weimar till eleven year later, when the Duke died, and the nephew, Ernst August, was enthroned. At this time Bach performed an old cantata in the new duke's honor--Was mir behagt, with the word "Christian" changed to "Ernst August" throughout.
Hanford & Koster Weimar II
Education & Career