Site ©1996 Timothy A. Smith

Johann Christoph Bach 1642-1703


Johann Sebastian's 1st cousin once removed became the town organist in Eisenach in the year 1665 and court chamber musician there in 1700. Johann Christoph was well-respected in the Bach family; Johann Sebastian's uncle (twin brother of his father, Ambrosius) was named Johann Christoph as were Johann Sebastian's older brother and second-to-youngest son. Johann Christoph's brother, Johann Michael, was also well respected.

Prior to Johann Sebastian, Johann Christoph would have been considered the most famous musician of the Bach family. His work is of the highest quality and, in some instances, has been improperly attributed to Johann Sebastian himself (e.g. the motet Ich lasse dich nicht). Johann Christoph composed choral works (motets and cantatas) and works for organ (preludes and fugues). Johann Sebastian described his second cousin as "the great and expressive composer," and performed his works often as did Carl Philipp Emanuel.

While Johann Christoph was an excellent musician, financial difficulties turned him into a bitter person. When Sebastian's father and mother died, the logical person to become his guardian would have been Johann Christoph. Probably because of cousin Christoph's financial straits, as well as his disagreeable personality, Sebastian went to live with his brother in Ohrdruf instead.

Bach's World Family Tree