THE LIZ LIBRARY PRESENTS:
This child lost both his mother and father when he was only nine years old, and then grew up to become one of the world's greatest composers.
He was born March 21, 1685, in Germany, the youngest child of six children in a large extended family, many of whom were musicians. His father was a court musician, as were his uncles and older brothers. While still very young, the boy learned to play a number of musical instruments, including the harpsichord and violin.
After his parents' unexpected deaths in the same year, he went to live with his eldest brother, who was newly married and working as a church organist. While living with his brother, he attended grammar school, where he was taught to read and write. His brother also gave him music lessons, and he learned how to play -- and also how to repair and manufacture -- organs.
The brother was poor, however, and so the child was required to obtain a job, and turn over all of his earnings to help with his support. Because of his beautiful soprano voice, the child obtained a job singing with a religious chorale group, which also gave him the opportunity to further his musical education.
As an adult, he married twice, having a total of 20 children, seven with his first wife, who died, and then thirteen with his second wife, who was only 17 when she married him. By all accounts, both marriages were successful and happy, although not all of the twenty children survived to adulthood.
He spent the bulk of his lifetime teaching music, performing as the music director in a church and as a court organist, and writing an astonishing twenty volumes of original compositions. He achieved some fame during his lifetime, and after his death, his achievements came to be more and more appreciated. Three centuries later, he is universally recognized as a musical genius.
This fatherless child, who is considered to be the best contrapuntal, or "counterpoint" composer of all time, was
Johann Sebastian Bach, a boy
from a "fatherless home."
* The term "fatherless" is used in this series as it is in current research and policy rhetoric by the U.S. federal government, DHHS and the National Fatherhood Initiative, most U.S. states in connection with child custody law and policy, and various family values and fatherhood interest policy and lobbying groups.
"...Just add Dad, the magic ingredient. It's hard to know where wishful thinking becomes deliberate deception. But this argument, advanced by the fathers' rights movement, is like saying that, since Mercedes Benz owners make more money than people who drive Hyundais, you will become wealthy if you buy a Mercedes..." Mike Peterson
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