Bach House (Eisenach)
|Established||May 27, 1907|
|Location||Frauenplan 21, Eisenach, Thuringia, Germany|
|Coordinates||50°58′17.37″N 10°19′21.4″E / 50.9714917°N 10.322611°ECoordinates: 50°58′17.37″N 10°19′21.4″E / 50.9714917°N 10.322611°E|
|Type||Music museum, biographical museum, memorial site|
|Owner||Neue Bachgesellschaft e.V., Leipzig|
The Bach House in Eisenach, Thuringia, Germany, is a museum dedicated to the composer Johann Sebastian Bach who was born in the city. On its 600 m² it displays around 250 original exhibits, among them a Bach music autograph. The core of the building complex is a half-timbered house, ca. 550 years old, which was mistakenly identified as Bach's birth house in the middle of the 19th century. In 1905, the Leipzig-based Neue Bachgesellschaft acquired the building. In 1907, it was opened as the first Bach museum.
The Bach family was a widespread musical family, with members working in musical professions throughout Thuringia since the first half of the 16th century until the end of the 18th century. Already in 1665, Johann Christoph Bach was appointed organist at St. George's in Eisenach.
Bach's father Johann Ambrosius Bach accepted a position as the Eisenach council's Haußmann (city music director) in 1671. The family first rented rooms in a half-timbered house in the Rittergasse 11 (directly south of today's museum garden), and owned at the time by the city's forests administrator Balthasar Schneider. Since only property owners could claim citizenship, in 1674 Johann Ambrosius Bach bought a house in the Fleischgass (probably Lutherstraße 35), its location was 100 metres to the north of today's museum. The original house in the Fleischgass is no longer standing, it was replaced twiceover in the 18th and 19th centuries. Identifying today the exact location of Bach's birth is almost hopeless in view of the fact that people wishing to become citizens did not always move into the places they acquired for that purpose, and instead rented them out. Based on the location of Ambrosius Bach's first rooms at the building in the Rittergasse and his ownership of the property in the Lutherstraße, one may conjecture that Bach's family lived in this area of the city and so at least very close to the location of the present-day museum.
Johann Sebastian Bach was born on 21 March 1685 in Eisenach and baptized two days later in St. George's Church. He spent the first 10 years of his life at Eisenach. The family's musical tradition brought him into close contact with music and the musical profession. His father early taught him to play string and wind instruments. At St. George's, Bach could witness his cousin Johann Christoph Bach playing the organ, later his favourite instrument. From 1692 until 1695, Johann Sebastian Bach attended the Latin school at Eisenach and joined its chorus musicus; for its members music lessons were included in the school's timetable on four days of the week. On 1 May 1694, Bach's mother Elisabeth Bach died, on 20 February 1695 also Bach's father Ambrosius died. In July 1695, Johann Sebastian and his brother Johann Jacob left Eisenach to live with the family of their older brother Johann Christoph in Ohrdruf.
History of the Bach House
1456 to 1800
The historical Bach House is one of the oldest residential buildings in Eisenach. It originally consisted of two buildings, of which the eastern part was built in 1456 and the western part in 1458. At around 1611, both were joined. As was normal with the Ackerbürgerhäuser (burghers' houses) of that time, the ground floor was used for agricultural purposes: today's instrument hall may have been used as a barn, and the rooms next to the stairs for cattle and horses. In the museum, a cowbell from 1688 found in the Bach House garden reminds of this past. In the first floor of the building, a Renaissance glass window frame and the timber panelling of the living room now decorated as Composing Studio still bear witness of the citizen status of the house's former occupants. At the time of Bach's birth it was owned by Heinrich Börstelmann, headmaster of the Latin School. In 1746, the family of Caroline Amalie Rausch née Bach moved into the building and lived there until 1779. Caroline Amalie was the daughter of Bach's second cousin and friend Johann Bernhard Bach and sister to Johann Ernst Bach, a student of Bach at Leipzig and then court music director at Eisenach.
1800 to 1900
In the wake of the 19th century's Bach renaissance instigated by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Robert Schumann, among others, devotees went on a search for memorabilia and also for the birthplace of the composer. In 1857, the Bach biographer Karl Hermann Bitter interviewed the still living descendants of Johann Bernhard Bach and determined that Bach was born at the house Frauenplan 21, subsequently called Bachhaus (Bach House). In 1868, the local music society dedicated the memorial plate above the front entrance, thus publicly marking the place as Bach's birthplace. Since then, however, no further evidence in support of this claim has surfaced. An error in the local oral tradition which Bitter encountered can perhaps be attributed to the fact that members of the Bach family did indeed live in this house once, but only at a time long after Bach's birth.
1900 to 2000
When the Leipzig-based Bach-Gesellschaft, founded by Robert Schumann and others in 1850 for the sole purpose of editing all of Bach's works, had completed this task in 1900, its members decided it should be reconstituted as Neue Bachgesellschaft (New Bach Society) to now further the popularity and practice of Bach's music. Three 'eternal' projects were approved: the annual edition of a Bach-Jahrbuch (Bach yearbook), biannual (today: annual) Bachfeste (Bach festivals), and finally the founding of a Bach museum. As the desired location of the society's museum the School of St. Thomas at Leipzig was chosen, where Bach had lived with his family and served as cantor and music teacher for 27 years. However, the magistrate of Leipzig decided to demolish the building in 1902, thus thwarting the society's plans. Among other relics, the entrance door to Bach's rooms in the school was saved from destruction by its then music teacher Bernhard Friedrich Richter, son of the former Cantor of St. Thomas Ernst Friedrich Richter, and was later dedicated to the Bach House. Today, this door prominently marks the start of the exhibition within the museum.
When news reached the society's members that Bach's (still undisputed) birth house at Eisenach was also under threat by demolition plans, the New Bach Society decided to acquire the building on May 15, 1905, and to open the world's first Bach museum at this site. Among the supporters of this project were the Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, the composer and violinist Joseph Joachim, the Cantor of St Thomas Gustav Schreck, the director of the Sing-Akademie zu Berlin Georg Schumann, and the Leipzig music publishers Breitkopf & Härtel and C.F. Peters. The Bach House was formally opened on 27 May 1907. The choir of St. Thomas, Leipzig under Cantor of St. Thomas, Gustav Schreck, and the Weimar Hofkapelle conducted by Georg Schumann, sang and played.
In 1928, when the Eisenach hobby historian Fritz Rollberg undertook a research into the city's tax records and discovered that Johann Ambrosius Bach had paid taxes from 1674 until his death in 1695 for a different building in Eisenach, the Bach House was long established as a Bach memorial site throughout the world. When the house underwent complete restoration in 1972–1973, the memorial plate from 1868 was taken down and went into storage. Since visitors kept believing to be visiting Bach's birthplace even without the plate, it was decided in 2007 to restore it as an essential part of the building's history. Today, the historical error is explained in the museum, where one of the tax files discovered by Rollberg is on display.
An air raid on 23 November 1944 and artillery fire by the approaching U.S. troops in the night of 5 April 1945 caused substantial damage to the roof of the Bach House in particular. On 29 April 1945, the U.S. commander of the city, Lt. Col. Knut Hansston, ordered the museum to be repaired immediately, and one year later, on 22 June 1946, the Soviet Military Administration ordered the Johann Sebastian Bach museums in Arnstadt and Eisenach to be re-opened and confirmed the appointment of Bach House Director Conrad Freyse to the post in which he had been working since 1923.
Already in 1911, the museum had expanded into the adjacent building Frauenplan 19. In 1973, the buildings underwent a complete restoration and the exhibition was newly designed with financial aid by the East German (GDR) government. The museum now also included the building Frauenplan 21a to the west of the Bach House. Since the museum's owner was still the New Bach Society, now an international society with over 3,000 members in both parts of politically divided Germany (and throughout West and East Europe, and also in the U.S.), the Bach House – unlike the Leipzig Bach-Archiv – was never incorporated into the GDR's national combine Nationale Forschungs- und Gedenkstätten Johann Sebastian Bach der DDR. Rising visitor numbers (over 130,000 in some years) and the imminent Bach year of 1985 led to a further expansion of the museum into the building Frauenplan 23 further west of the Bach House in 1980.
2000 until today
From 2005 to 2007, the buildings to the west of the Bach House were replaced by a new museum building, the historical building again underwent restoration, and the exhibition was completely modernized. The project was financed by the Free State of Thuringia, the government of the Federal Republic of Germany and the European Union, with a grant totalling 4.3 mio. Euros. Earlier, the New Bach Society had purchased the properties Frauenplan 21a and 23 (which before had only been rented) with donations by its members. A new, smaller building to the back of the Bach House garden had already been put up in 2001, it contains a study hall for school classes and a library. The demolition of the 19th century buildings to the west of the Bach House in 2000 and 2001 was subject of heavy debate among the Eisenach citizens. The same is true for the finally realized new museum building with its modern organic design by architect Prof. Berthold Penkhues from Kassel, Germany, a former student of Frank O. Gehry. Penkhues' design had won first prize among twelve submissions in an architectural design contest to which the New Bach Society had invited in 2002. The new exhibition was designed by Prof. Uwe Brückner, Stuttgart, Germany.
On 17 May 2007, the museum was re-opened at the start of a festival period lasting until 27 May, the day of the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Bach House. At the day of the re-opening, the choir of St. Thomas, Leipzig, inaugurated the new museum building with a concert under Georg Christoph Biller, its present Cantor of St. Thomas.
Museum overview, access for the disabled, opening hours
The entrance to the museum is now located at the new building. The tour leads from the foyer of the new building to the ground floor of the historic building and its instrument hall, then via the Bach House garden into the special exhibition rooms located in the eastern building Frauenplan 19. From there, stairs lead to the living rooms on the upper floor of the Bach House with a biographical exhibit, and the tour ends in a large exhibition room on the first floor of the new building where the emphasis is on Bach's music. A staircase leads back to the foyer. The exhibition features over 250 original exhibits on 600 m².
All texts are in German and English. Printed museum tour guides are additionally available in French, Japanese and Braille. Disabled persons with wheelchairs can reach the ground floor of the historic building with its hourly music demonstrations via wooden ramps, and all parts of the new museum building via a lift. The upper floor of the historic building with its narrow passages and uneven floors is not suited for wheelchair visits. Dog boxes are provided for visitors with pets.
The museum is open to visitors every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On December 24 and December 31 the museum closes already at 2 p.m. There is parking space for cars and buses on the Frauenplan in front of the Bach House. From the Eisenach main train station it is a 15 min. walk, and about 10 min. from the central market place with St.George's and the city's public parking garage. If one climbs the hill behind the Bach House, one reaches the Wartburg Castle in a walk of about 25 min.
The foyer has the ticket counter, a gift shop and the museum's Café Kantate. There is a small exhibit about the history of the Museum and its owner, the New Bach Society. The large, 160 by 120 cm Bach painting by Johannes Heisig (2004) deserves special attention. From here, one reaches the exhibition rooms in the old building via a glass passageway. It is marked by the original entrance door to Bach's apartment in the Leipzig School of St. Thomas behind which Bach and his family had lived for 27 years.
Exhibition rooms in the historical Bach House
From the new building, visitors first enter the foyer of the old Bach House. The low rooms to its side would have served as stables in the 15th and 16th centuries. Exhibits relate to the history of the house, among them an old tax file from 1694–1695 which proves that Bach's father Ambrosius paid poor taxes (a supplement to the property tax used for alimenting the city's poor) for a house in the Fleischgass, and not the Bach House. From the museum's instrument collection a few curious instruments are on display, among others a glass harmonica from around 1775 which supposedly had been in the possession of Friedrich Schleiermacher, and a trumpet violin from 1717 (a violin with a built-in trumpet – two such instruments were available to Bach during his time as music director at the court of Köthen). The gold-plated Bach statue is a design from 1903, a study for Carl Seffner's later Bach monument from 1908 that stands in front of St. Thomas, Leipzig.
Hourly music demonstrations in the Instrument Hall
The Instrument Hall has 28 original baroque musical instruments on display, a selection of the museum's collection of more than 400. The collection started with a gift of four instruments by the Dutch collector Paul de Wit in 1907, and a gift of 164 instruments by the heirs of musicologist and conductor Aloys Obrist who had killed both himself and his former lover, the opera singer Anna Sutter, in 1910. Remarkable are three string instruments: a viola da gamba with seven strings, built by Bach's Leipzig friend and collaborator Johann Christian Hoffmann in 1725, a violoncello piccolo with five strings (northern Bohemia, ca. 1750) which Bach demanded for nine cantatas and (according to some views) the cello suite BWV 1012, and a viola d'amore with six 6 gut playing strings and 6 metal resonating strings an octave higher (Vienna, around 1700).
Since 1973, five baroque keyboard instruments are demonstrated in a music performance every hour. These include two chamber organs (Switzerland, ca. 1750, and Thuringia, ca. 1650), a fretted clavichord (around 1770), a spinet built 1765 in Strasbourg by Johann Heinrich Silbermann, a nephew of Gottfried Silbermann whose instruments Bach helped sell in Leipzig, and the copy of a harpsichord built by Johann Heinrich Har(r)ass (Breitenbach, Thuringia, 1705), supposedly Bach's favorite harpsichord maker. The wind for the organs is not produced by a motor: while the organist of the Swiss organ can produce the wind by himself using a foot lever, a visitor's help is always required for treading the bellows of the Thuringian positive organ. This instrument's history and Bach's biography overlap: from 1714 on, it served as a church organ in Kleinschwabhausen, about 15 km from Weimar where Bach was court organist at the time. Bach's protegée and family friend, the court organ maker Heinrich Nicolaus Trebs, repaired the organ in 1724 and 1740, and Johann Caspar Vogler, Bach's student and successor as court organist, tested the organ in 1738, 1740 and 1744. Since inspecting the dukedom's organs belonged to the court organist's duties, the museum conjectures that Bach must have known and played this instrument, even though there is no record of it.
Bach House garden
The design of the Bach House garden as a baroque garden dates from1907. In the baroque era, it would have served as a pasture and for growing vegetables and fruits. Today, it is a protected heritage site. The location of the well is still original. The building directly opposite of the Bach House garden is where Bach's father Johann Ambrosius Bach first lived when he arrived from Erfurt with his wife and two sons. From the Bach House garden, the tour continues through the door of the building to the east that houses special exhibitions, and then via a staircase to the first floor of the historical Bach House.
Biographical exhibit and the Bach Goblet
The largest room in the upper story of the Bach house depicts Bach's musical biography: his studies in Ohrdruf and Lüneburg, and his positions in Arnstadt, Mühlhausen, Weimar, Köthen, and Leipzig. For each place, there is an illustration of the place, an engraving or other depiction of Bach's superior or other locally important person, and an original object: an old shoe symbolizes Bach's 300 km journey on foot from Ohrdruf to Lüneburg, a chorister's bassoon crossed by a dress sword illustrates how Bach in Arnstadt once defended himself with a sword against a physical attack by a bassoon player, a padlock reminds of the four weeks Bach spent in the Weimar prison, and a wooden payment board with contemporary coins (among them an electoral Saxon Taler coined in 1715) reminds of Bach's good income as music director at the court of Prince Leopold at Köthen, but also the perpetual money troubles of his employer. The original, 1732 libretto of the cantata Froher Tag, verlangte Stunden (Happy day, desired hours, Bach later re-used the music for his Ascension Oratorio BWV 11), reminds of happy times Bach spent at the Leipzig School of St. Thomas for whose re-opening after substantial reconstruction he composed it. The last exhibits include the so-called Bach spectacles long believed to have been worn by Bach, and original copperplate engravings depict the practice of eye surgery at Bach's time, the procedure – carried out by the English charlatan John Taylor – that likely caused Bach's death on 28 July 1750.
The most mysterious object on display in this room is the Bach Goblet, the only undoubtedly authentic household item left from Bach's possessions. It is a Bohemian-Saxon work from around 1735. In the front, there is a VIVAT with a double (mirrored) monogram of the letters JSB underneath. The ends of the letters terminate in points. In total, there are 14 of these points – the Bach number, since B+A+C+H = 2+1+3+8 = 14 according to baroque numerology. In the back, there is a dedication poem that includes the name of Bach both in letters and in (German) musical notation: b–a–c–h theurer Bach (b♭–a–c–b beloved Bach) / g–gis–f–fis ruffet, ach! (g–g♯–f–f♯ call out, alack!) / e–dis–d–cis hofft auf Leben, (e–d♯–d–c♯ hope for life,) / So du ihnen nur kannst geben. (which only you can give.) / Drum erhör ihr sehnlich ach! (Thus grant our wish, alack!) / Theurer b–a–c–h Bach. (beloved b♭–a–c–b Bach). It is still an unsolved riddle who may have been the donor of the goblet, and on what occasion Bach received it.
Room of the town pipers, Eisenach panorama
The next room is dedicated to the town pipers, as the town musicians headed by Bach's father Johann Ambrosius Bach were also called. On a wall there is a 1907 copy of Ambrosius' portrait by Johann David Herlicius (1690, the original is owned by the Berlin State Library and currently on loan at the new museum of the Bach-Archiv at Leipzig). Typical instruments of the town musicians are on display, the most remarkable being an early violin dating from 1575, and also including a cornett, bombard, crumhorn, sackbut and recorder. The chorale book (Melchior Vulpius, 1609) includes typical repertoire pieces of the town pipers, it was previously owned by Bach's relative, the Meiningen cantor Johann Jacob Bach. Bach's school records are shown in facsimilé (the originals are kept at the Eisenach city archives), and there is also the Latin school's time table from 1694/95 which includes music lessons in the afternoons. Noteworthy is the illustrated Eisenach hymnal from 1673 which was used in St. George's throughout Bach's childhood.
A smaller, separate room shows a semicircular city panorama of Eisenach as Bach would have seen it as a child (based on the engraving by Matthäus Merian, 1640). The Bach House is depicted below the Frauendom (Cathedral of Her Lady), which was destroyed in the German peasants' wars, but which is still evidenced in the surrounding streets' names (Frauenplan, Frauenberg, Marienstraße, Domstraße). Cases show archaeological findings and historical household items: pieces of pottery, scraps of shoe leather and textiles, a candle holder, a drinking mug and a cowbell from 1688 dug up in the Bach House garden. The background noise reminds of the fact that the Bach residence – wherever one may want to pinpoint its exact location – was not a quiet place: the municipal brewery was in the immediate vicinity.
Bach's wives and children
On the floors between the historical living quarters, the exhibition informs about Bach's wives and his 20 children. A spinning wheel reminds of Bach's first wife Maria Barbara, as in Bach's wedding quodlibet BWV 524 it symbolizes the marriage bond and the diligence of the wife. Bach's second, much younger wife Anna Magdalena is remembered with an always fresh bouquet of yellow carnations – she was a große Liebhaberin von der Gärtnerey (a great lover of gardening) and these were her favorite flowers. Noteworthy are the original children portraits of Bach's sons Wilhelm Friedemann and Carl Philipp Emanuel (pastel paintings by Nikolaus Ephraim Bach and Gottlob Friedrich Bach, ca. 1730).
The historical living quarters
Three rooms in the upper floor of the historical Bach House present historical living quarters (bedroom, living room, kitchen). Their furnishing is virtually unchanged since the rooms were first decorated by the Weimar Court Antiquary in 1906 with local items from around 1700 (including door handles and fittings). The curtains and bed-covers are in blue print (produced with woad in the 17th century) and are typical of the area.The cradle was a gift by Johanna von Hase, the wife of Oskar von Hase, owner of the music publisher Breitkopf & Härtel. Some of the crockery in the kitchen was found in the Bach House garden. The living room was the best room of the house, it is a Bohlenstube (encased by wooden panels), making the room easy to keep warm. It is furnished to resemble Bach's composing studio in the Leipzig School of St. Thomas which was about the same size. Noteworthy is the clavichord (built by Christoph Dreßel, Leipzig, ca. 1680–90).
Bach's theological library
In the Composing Studio a reconstruction of Bach's theological library can be seen. This reconstruction is facilitated by the written estate which lists 52 theological book titles bound in 81 volumes as having been privately owned by Bach. Since 2009, about half of the titles are on display, and the museum aims to provide a complete reconstruction until 2017, the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The information includes excerpts from the books in German and English, and information on the books' authors like Martin Luther, Martin Chemnitz, Heinrich Müller, Johann Gerhard, Johann Arndt, Philipp Jacob Spener and August Hermann Francke. The oldest book contains the sermons of the 14th century mystic Johannes Tauler, printed in 1522 in Basle. Another remarkable book is Heinrich Bünting's Itinerarium Sacrae Scriptura (Magdeburg 1592): it is opened at a curious map depicting the three continents Africa, Asia and Europe arranged like a clover leaf around the city of Jerusalem. It should be noted that even though these are contemporary editions more or less closely resembling those owned by Bach, the only personal copy of the books listed in the estate that has so far been discovered is Bach's Calov Bible, which is today preserved at the Concordia Seminary Library in St. Louis, Missouri. (The copy of the Calov Bible that is presented in the Bach House has another interesting history: it comes from Abraham Calov's private possession.)
Exhibition in the modern building
A passageway in the kitchen of the historical Bach House and a staircase in the glass 'fugue' between the two buildings leads to the exhibition in the modern museum building, openend in 2007. The central themes of the exhibit are How we see Bach, What we know about Bach, and How we play Bach. The exhibition on these themes is arranged around a central sculpture, the Walkable Composition.
The first objects encountered in the modern building are five hanging chairs – so-called Bubble chairs, a 1968 design by Eero Aarnio. In each of the bubble chairs, visitors can listen to one of the following pieces by Bach:
- Bach – virtuoso and composer: Concerto in A major, 1. mvt. Allegro (BWV 1055/1)
- Bach – the imaginative perfectionist: Cello Suite No. 1 G major, 1. mvt. Prélude (BWV 1007/1)
- Bach – the lively teacher: Goldberg Variations (BWV 988)
- Bach – the musical preacher: Jesus bleibet meine Freude (BWV 147/10)
- Bach – transformer and creator: Orchestral suite in D, 2. mvt. Air (BWV 1068/2)
Like the painting in the foyer, the painting on the wall behind the bubble chairs was created by Johannes Heisig (2004, private loan). It depicts Bach performing a cantata in the Leipzig Church of St. Thomas with his choir.
How we see Bach
The history of Bach iconography is treated on the northern wall of the modern building, starting with contemporary paintings, among them the original painting of Johann Jacob Ihle which dates from around 1720, and a pastel painting which Charles Sanford Terry identified in 1936 as the Bach portrait formerly owned by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Also on display is the early Bach portrait by Gebel which was used for the title page of the first volume of the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung in 1798/99. Finally there is a 1910 copy of the undoubtedly authentic painting by Elias Gottlob Haussmann, the original can be found in the old town hall in Leipzig. 39 original prints, arranged in 'families', depict how our picture of Bach has changed through the centuries. This part of the exhibition ends with the excavation of Bach's bones and the anatomical reconstruction of Bach's face by the Leipzig anatomist Wilhelm His and the sculptor Carl Seffner in 1894, the first three-dimensional forensic facial reconstruction based on a skull that was ever conducted. Among the exhibits are a bronze cast of the skull and the Bach bust created by Seffner in 1894. There is also a video of the modern reconstruction of Bach's face by forensic scientist Caroline Wilkinson which is based on three of Seffner's skull casts and which was commissioned by the museum in 2008.
What we know about Bach, Bach autograph
Bach research is the topic of the part What we know about Bach. It starts with the first Bach biographies (on display is the Musicalisches Lexicon by Bach's friend Johann Gottfried Walther, 1732, and the manuscript of the Bach biography of Philipp Spitta, 1873). What we know about Bach goes on to explain the process of reconstructing partly lost cantatas (on display is the handwritten draft of Ton Koopman's reconstruction of the cantata Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied BWV 190), and at the end displays an original Bach autograph, giving the history from its first discovery to its inclusion in the Neue Bach-Ausgabe. The autograph is the continuo part of the cantata Alles nur nach Gottes Willen, BWV 72. It is, like most hand-written instrumental parts for Bach's cycles of cantatas, a collaborative work: the right hand side of the sheet on display (chorus, recitative) was written by Bach's student and nephew Johann Heinrich Bach (the son of Bach's older brother Johann Christoph Bach from Ohrdruf), the upper left hand side (air) was written by Bach's wife Anna Magdalena Bach, and the music of the final chorale, along with all titles, subtitles, and some corrections up to the word Fine, are in the hand of Johann Sebastian Bach. On an audio station next to the autograph, the history of the cantata is explained and the speaker leads through all parts of the music on the sheet. Nearby, there is a 'researcher's desk' complete with a PC (with weblinks to Bach research websites) and a small hand library including among other books a Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis and Bach biographies in German, English, French and Japanese.
How we play Bach, children's corner
The history of Bach performances is treated in the exhibition part How we play Bach. It begins with Bach's sons and in particular Carl Philipp Emanuel's efforts to keep the music of his father alive (exhibited are Bach's four-part chorales edited by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach in 1784–1787), then treats the fast competition for the publication of Bach's Well-tempered Clavier (exhibited are the first prints by Nägeli and Simrock, 1802), the performance of the St Matthew Passion by the 19 years old Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy in 1829, the work on the first Bach-Gesamtausgabe (Bach complete edition) from 1850 on, and finally the return to Bach's orchestra and playing techniques by the historically informed performance movement in the 20th century. On a 'mixer', one can listen to and compare nine very different interpretations of the same chorus from Bach's cantata Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (BWV 61/1). The conductors Hans-Joachim Rotzsch, Helmuth Rilling, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Klaus Eichhorn and Masaaki Suzuki provided introductory texts to their interpretations for the museum. Remarkable among the exhibits are the Clavecin Royal (Johann Gottlob Wagner, Dresden 1788), which here represents the progresses made by instrument builders since Bach's death, and a letter by Robert Franz to Paul Graf Waldersee dated 19 August 1876, in which he derides the Bach accompaniments by Joseph Joachim as standing "ungefähr auf derselben Stufe wie der Schund, den sein Freund Brahms bei der Gelegenheit der Händelschen Cammerduette geleistet hat." (on the same level as the rubbish which his friend Brahms produced regarding Handel's chamber duets).
Just behind this exhibition part is a children's corner that has, among other things, a big sliding piece puzzle showing Bach's first organ in Arnstadt.
The Walkable Composition
The central element of the new museum building is the Walkable Composition. Including the autograph station, there are 14 listening stations positioned around its outside wall which employ musical examples to explain musical techniques and topics in Bach's works: polyphony, fugue, basso continuo, tuning, Bach's parody technique, organ music, cantatas, passion music, secular cantatas, sonatas and suites, concertos, overtures, motets and late works. The interior of the Walkable Composition contains a multimedia installation: it thematically links four of the topics discussed outside with a valuable exhibit and a practical musical performance shown in film on a 180 degrees screen. The concept was realized for the museum by the Berlin multimedia art director Marc Tamschick in collaboration with composer Marc Lingk. These exhibits and films can be seen:
|Theme||Exhibit||Photo||Piece, artists, place, date|
|Fugue||The Art of the Fugue, first edition, 1751||Johann Sebastian Bach: Art of the Fugue (BWV 1080, Contrapunctus I, IX). Ensemble: Harmonie Universelle (Florian Deuter); dance: pretty ugly tanz köln (Choreography: Amanda Miller). Place: Schauspiel Köln. 23 June 2006.|
|Parody technique||Libretto Tönet, ihr Pauken! Erschallet, Trompeten! BWV 214 Breitkopf, Leipzig 1733||Johann Sebastian Bach: Tönet, ihr Pauken! (BWV 214, Chorus). Rehearsal by the Thomanerchor (Georg Christoph Biller), ensemble: Neues Bachisches Collegium Musicum (Albrecht Winter). Place: Old Town Hall, Leipzig. 25 March 2006.|
|Organ music||Manual from the organ of the Brückenhofkirche in Mühlhausen, built by Johann Friedrich Wender in 1702, on which Bach performed every fortnight in 1707–1708 (loan by the parish of St. George, Dörna)||Johann Sebastian Bach: Toccata, Adagio and Fuge (BWV 564, Toccata, Adagio). Organist: Oliver Stechbart. Places: Divi Blasii, Mühlhausen (organ by Alexander Schuke, 1958), St. George's, Dörna (organ by Johann Friedrich Wender, 1702). 17–18 July 2006.|
|Continuity and rediscovery||Handwritten choir parts used in Mendelssohn's performance of the St Matthew Passion on 11 March 1829 (Berlin) and on 4 April 1841 (Leipzig) (loan by the Mendelssohn House, Leipzig)||Johann Sebastian Bach/Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy: St Matthew Passion (BWV 244, Nr. 61a–63b, 65). Ensembles: Chorus Musicus and Das Neue Orchester, Cologne (Christoph Spering); soloists: Andreas Karasiak (tenor), David Jerusalem (bass). Place: Trinity Church, Cologne. 26 June 2011.|
Since 2004, there have been the following special exhibits at the Bach House:
- 2004: Ich habe fleißig seyn müssen ... – Johann Sebastian Bach and his Eisenach childhood
- 2005: Johann Sebastian Bach – Ansichtssache
- 2006: – none –
- 2007: The Man in the Golden Waistcoat (on Johann Christian Bach)
- 2008: Bach through the Mirror of Medicine
- 2009: Blood and Spirit – Bach, Mendelssohn and their music in the Third Reich
- 2010: Bach's Passions – Between Lutheran tradition and Italian opera
- 2011: Memories of Wanda Landowska
- 2012: Luther and [Bach's] Music
- 2013: Bach & Friends
- 2014: „B+A+C+H = 14“: Bach and numbers
Concerts, school's programmes
The museum hosts about 10 concerts per year. Fixed events are the concerts on 26 December, 1 January and 21 March. The Bach House is one of the locations of the regional music festivals Thüringer Bachwochen (three weeks, starting the week before Easter), Güldener Herbst (in October), and Eisenacher Telemann-Tage (summer of even years). Regularly, the Bach House presents the winners of the International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition, Leipzig. The museum offers a range of school's programmes on different themes (in German language only).
Library, services for choirs
To the museum belongs a library which is open to the public during general opening hours. It has about 5,500 volumes, mostly on Bach and his contemporaries, musical instruments, and on musical history in general. Books can be searched by an OPAC. The music section contains both the old Bach Gesamtausgabe and the Neue Bach-Ausgabe as well as practical editions of Bach's works and a collection of audio recordings. Choirs can lend materials for the performances of most Bach cantatas.
As the first and – for a long time – only Bach museum, the museum's mandate by the New Bach Society was to "collect everything that concerns Johann Sebastian Bach, his life and works, and his reception." However, when the museum was founded in 1907, this mandate was already quite impossible to fulfill. 80 percent of all known Bach autographs were (and still are) in the possession of the Berlin State Library, and already at the time, private collectors willing to part with what was left were demanding prices far exceeding the means of a private society. Still, in its early years the following autographs were acquired by the Bach House:
|Composer||Work||Category||Autograph portions by|
|Joh. Christoph Bach I||Aria Eberlina||Variations for harpsichord after a theme by Daniel Eberlin||Joh. Christoph Bach III|
|Joh. Sebastian Bach||Es ist das Heil uns kommen her, BWV 9||Soprano part||Wilhelm Friedemann Bach|
|Joh. Sebastian Bach||Alles nur nach Gottes Willen, BWV 72||Continuo part||Joh. Sebastian Bach, Joh. Heinrich Bach, Anna Magdalena Bach|
|Joh. Sebastian Bach||Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir, BWV 130||Continuo part||Christian Gottlob Meißner, Joh. Sebastian Bach|
|Joh. Sebastian Bach||Ich habe meine Zuversicht, BWV 188||Partitur (Fragment)||Joh. Sebastian Bach|
Subsequently, the collection grew by donations, notably those of Oskar von Hase and the Leipzig music publishers C.F. Peters and Breitkopf & Härtel, and by inheritances, like those from Philipp Spitta, Wilhelm Rust, Paul Graf Waldersee, Aloys Obrist, Wilhelm His, and Christoph Trautmann. Apart from the items on display, the following are particularly noteworthy: a Thuringian Harpsichord from 1715, a harpsichord by Jacob Hartmann (ca. 1765), a second spinet by Johann Heinrich Silbermann (1765), and a pedal clavichord (ca. 1815). Additionally three school notebooks by Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, a first edition of The Musical Offering (part A) from 1747, the source C of Bach's lost Genealogie der musicalisch-Bachischen Familie (genealogy of the musical Bach family), the only known libretto of the lost Bach wedding cantata Sein Segen fließt daher, wie ein Strom (BWV Anh. 14, Immanuel Tietze, Leipzig 1725), a collection of silhouettes of the Ohrdruf Bach family, letters of 19th century Bach researchers like Karl Hermann Bitter, and documents, measurements and casts relating to the excavation of the (supposed) Bach bones by Wilhelm His und Carl Seffner (including casts of the cranium in plaster and bronze). In 2013, the Bach House acquired 62 of what originally probably had been 152 hand-written choir parts, which the choir sang from when Felix Mendelssohn performed Bach's St Matthew Passion in the Berliner Singakademie on 11 March 1829 for the first time after Bach's death.
Today, the museum's collecting activities focus on these fields:
- baroque musical instruments
- Bach iconography
- early prints of Bach's music
- theological literature from Bach's time
- Bach research and reception in the 19th century
Ownership, finances, Blaubuch, museum directors
All real property and the collections are owned by the New Bach Society. Since 5 July 2001, the museum is managed by the Bachhaus Eisenach gemeinnützige GmbH, a registered charitable company, with the New Bach Society as its sole associate. The supervisory board includes representatives of the New Bach Society, the City of Eisenach, the Lutheran Church, and the government of the Free State of Thuringia. The funding of the museum is subject of a contract between the New Bach Society, the City of Eisenach, and the Free State of Thuringia. The majority of public funds comes from the Thuringian government. Own proceeds from ticket sales, the shop and the café cover two thirds of the museum's annual expenses. Donations go into restorations and acquisitions for the museum's collection.
Since 2001, the Bach House is listed in the federal German government's Blaubuch (bluebook) of "cultural lighthouses in former East Germany" as a cultural memorial site of national significance, effectively granting it access to federal funds for its projects.
- Dr. Georg Bornemann, 1907–1918 (assistant: Dr. Albrecht Göhler, brother of composer and conductor Georg Göhler, 1912–1914)
- Ernst Fleischer, 1918–1923
- Conrad Freyse, 1923–1964
- Günther Kraft, 1964–1971
- Ilse Domizlaff, 1971–1990
- Dr. Claus Oefner, 1990–2001
- Dr. Franziska Nentwig, 2002–2005
- Dr. Jörg Hansen, since 2006
Visitor numbers, tourism
There are about 60,000 visitors to the Bach House per year, making it one of Germany's most frequented music museums and second only to the Beethoven House in Bonn.
The Bach statue in front of the Bach House was the second monument for Johann Sebastian Bach. It was the first to show the composer figuratively in the form of a full statue. It was sculpted by Adolf von Donndorf and cast by Hermann Heinrich Howaldt in Brunswick, Germany. The monument was commissioned in 1878 by the Denkmal-Comittee (monument committee) founded by culture loving citizens of Eisenach, among them the city's cantor Carl Müller-Hartung and the writer Fritz Reuter. Clara Schumann, Hans von Bülow, Joseph Joachim and Franz Liszt helped raise the monies by giving beneficial concerts, and the project was also supported by Johannes Brahms. It was unveiled on 28 September 1884 after a concert of Bach's Mass in B minor conducted by Joseph Joachim in St. George's Church. Its first location was on the market place in front of the portal of St. George's. The monument was moved to its present location in front of the Bach House when the Frauenplan was redecorated in 1938. The composer is shown standing, holding a feather quill in his right hand, and leaning with his left on a stack of sheet music carried by an angel. The monument's base was substantially shortened when it was moved. A relief plate depicting Saint Cecilia, the patron of church music, which was originally attached to the base, can now be seen on the stone wall behind the monument. In front of the Bach monument, Bach's birthday is celebrated every year with formal festivities on the morning of 21 March.
Ingo Bracke, a light artist from Saarbrücken and with his wife Mary-Anne Kyriakou collaborator in the i Light Marina Bay festival in Singapore, created the installation IN VERSUS F: A Score of Light – An Architectural Tune for the Bach House. It was first shown on 13 December 2008, and has been permanently installed since 21 March 2011. Starting at sunset and ending at 11 p.m., it is on display on all Saturday evenings and evenings before public holidays.
For the new design of the Bach House permanent exhibition, Atelier Brückner was also awarded a special price for outstanding scenography by the Association of German Interior Architects BDIA on 24 October 2008.
- Helmut Kohl and Bill Clinton visited the Bach House on 14 May 1998.
- Valéry Giscard d'Estaing visited the Bach House on 26 September 2007.
- Nana Mouskouri visited the Bach House on 1 September 2012.
- Christoph Wolff: Johann Sebastian Bach – The Learned Musician.W.W. Norton, New York, 2000 (2. Aufl.). ISBN 978-3-596-16739-5
- Martin Petzoldt: Bachstätten. Ein Reiseführer zu Johann Sebastian Bach. Insel, Frankfurt, 2000. ISBN 0-393-04825-X
- Hartmut Ellrich: Bach in Thüringen. Sutton, Erfurt, 2011 (2nd ed.). ISBN 978-3-86680-856-0
- Ilse Domizlaff: Das Bachhaus Eisenach: Fakten und Dokumente. Bachhaus, Eisenach 1984.
- Conrad Freyse: Fünfzig Jahre Bachhaus. Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, Berlin 1958.
- Wolfgang Heyde: Historische Musikinstrumente im Bachhaus Eisenach, Bachhaus, Eisenach, 1976.
- Jörg Hansen: Bachhaus Eisenach (English). Schnell & Steiner, Regensburg, 2011 (5th ed.). ISBN 978-3-7954-4008-4
- Jörg Hansen: 100 Jahre Bachhaus Eisenach. Neubau, Altbausanierung, Neugestaltung der ständigen Ausstellung und feierliche Eröffnung am 17. Mai 2007. In: Thüringer Museumshefte. 16, 2007, 1, pp. 101–112.
- Jörg Hansen: 10 Jahre Bachhaus Eisenach gGmbH. Ein Erfahrungsbericht. In: Thüringer Museumshefte. 20, 2011, 1, pp. 48–61.
- Jörg Hansen, Gerald Vogt: Blood and Spirit – Bach, Mendelssohn and their music in the Third Reich (exhibition catalogue). Bachhaus, Eisenach 2009. ISBN 978-3-932257-06-3.
- Christoph Wolff: Johann Sebastian Bach, p. 20.
- Martin Petzoldt: Bachstätten, p. 68.
- Cf. Domizlaff, Bachhaus Eisenach, p. 128: At the time of Bach's birth, the Bach House was owned by Brunswick-born Heinrich Börstelmann, school director of the Latin school at which Bach was later a pupil. Börstelmann had rented the place out to three parties (but not the Bach family).
- Christoph Wolff: Johann Sebastian Bach, p. 20 names the house Lutherstraße 35 as Bach's birthplace.
- The date refers to the Julian calendar still in use at Eisenach then, it is reproduced in almost all biographies, and on 21 March there are traditional festive celebrations and concerts in Bach's memory in places like Eisenach, Weimar, and Leipzig up to this day. The actual date according to the modern, Gregorian calendar is, however, 31 March.
- Christoph Wolff: Johann Sebastian Bach, pp. 22, 28.
- Christoph Wolff: Johann Sebastian Bach, pp. 28–29.
- Christoph Wolff, Johann Sebastian Bach, pp. 25
- Christoph Wolff: Johann Sebastian Bach, pp. 35, 38.
- Jörg Hansen, 100 Jahre Bachhaus Eisenach, p. 101. For the dendrochronological dating by the University of Bamberg cf. Bachhaus – eines der ältesten Fachwerkhäuser. Nachrichtendienst www.eisenachonline.de, 28 August 2006. Last checked 16 November 2011.
- Ilse Domizlaff: Das Bachhaus Eisenach, pp. 7–8.
- Ilse Domizlaff: Das Bachhaus Eisenach, p. 129; Hartmut Ellrich: Bach in Thüringen, p. 55.
- Cf. Karl Hermann Bitter: Johann Sebastian Bach. Wilhelm Baensch, Berlin 1881 (2nd ed.), pp. 49–50: "Auf dem Frauenplan daselbst erhebt sich über einer mit grünem Rasen bekleideten hügelartigen Erhöhung des Bodens ein Haus von bescheidner Ausdehnung und behaglich einladendem Aeusseren. Der Blick gleitet von ihm über den freien Platz hinaus auf die bewaltdeten Höhen, welche sich um die Stadt herumziehen. Ein geräumiger Hausflur, wo in den Zeiten des alten Bürgerthums die Familie sich zu versammeln pflegte, empfängt den Eintretenden. Rechts im Hintergrunde führt eine gewundene Treppe zu der in der halben Höhe des Hauses nach hinten zu belegenen Küche und in das obere Stockwerk des Hauses. Durch die Hinterpforte tritt man unmittelbar in ein freundliches Gärtchen. Kleine niedrige Zimmerdeuten auf die geringeren häuslichen Bedürfnisse früherer Zeiten. Das Ganze des Hauses zeigt, dass seine Bewohner sich einer gewissen Wohlhabenheit erfreut haben mochten." As for Bitter's research in Eisenach cf. Ilse Domizlaff, Das Bachhaus Eisenach, p. 13: "Bei den Vorarbeiten zu seiner 1865 veröffentlichten Bach-Biografie nahm Carl Heinrich Bitter Beziehungen zu den noch lebenden Nachfahren des Johann Bernhard Bach auf, um den Lebensumkreis von Johann Sebastians Kindheit zu erforschen. Er erfuhr die schon lange in Eisenach mündlich verbreitete Überlieferung, daß Johann Sebastian Bach in eben diesem Haus geboren worden sei und beschrieb es in seiner Bach-Biografie in diesem Sinn. Weiter bezog man sich auf eine angeblich verschollene Familienchronik. Spätere Biografen überprüften das Zustandekommen dieser Aussagen nicht und übernahmen sie einfach."
- For the history of the plate cf. Ilse Domizlaff: Das Bachhaus Eisenach, p. 12.
- Martin Petzoldt: Bachstätten, S. 67.
- Conrad Freyse: Fünfzig Jahre Bachhaus, p. 20, fn. 34.
- Cf. for the plans to demolish the Bach House and its acquisition by the Bach Society Ilse Domizlaff: Das Bachhaus Eisenach, pp. 16–21. Domizlaff concedes that without the historical error in determining Bach's birthplace, Eisenach's most impressive residential building from the Renaissance era would no longer be standing today.
- Neue Bach-Gesellschaft: Drittes deutsches Bach-Fest zur Einweihung von Johann Sebastian Bachs Geburtshaus als Bach-Museum; Fest- und Programmbuch, Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1907.
- For Rollberg's research and its results cf. Ilse Domizlaff, Das Bachhaus Eisenach, pp. 8–9 and 128–132.
- Conrad Freyse: Fünfzig Jahre Bachhaus, p. 23; Ilse Domizlaff: Das Bachhaus Eisenach, pp. 60–61.
- SMA Order No. 289, 13 July 1946, reprinted in Ilse Domizlaff: Das Bachhaus Eisenach, p. 67.
- Conrad Freyse: Fünfzig Jahre Bachhaus Eisenach, p. 12.
- Ilse Domizlaff: Das Bachhaus Eisenach, S. 104.
- Ilse Domizlaff: Das Bachhaus Eisenach, p. 106.
- Jörg Hansen, 10 Jahre Bachhaus Eisenach gGmbH, pp. 49, 61 (fn. 1).
- Ilse Domizlaff: Das Bachhaus Eisenach, pp. 125–126.
- Jörg Hansen: 100 Jahre Bachhaus Eisenach, p. 104.
- Cf. Bachhausensemble on the website of the Society for the Preservation of Eisenach http://www.fzee.de/scripts/angebote/640? (version of 11 August 2007 via archive.org)
- Vita of Berthold H. Penkhues on the website www.penkhuesarchitekten.de. Version of 16 November 2011.
- Bachhaus – Preisträger stehen fest. News service www.eisenachonline.de, 10 March 2003. Accessed 16 November 2011.
- Jörg Hansen: 100 Jahre Bachhaus Eisenach, p. 106.
- Festwoche 100 Jahre Bachhaus – 17–27 May 2007. News service www.eisenachonline.de, 15 May 2007. Accessed 16 November 2011.
- Jörg Hansen: 10 Jahre Bachhaus Eisenach gGmbH, p. 58. The following description of the exhibition is based on the information available within the museum and additionally the tour guide Jörg Hansen: Bachhaus Eisenach.
- For a detailed description of the museum's collection of musical instruments see Herbert Heyde: Historische Musikinstrumente im Bachhaus Eisenach.
- Herbert Heyde: Historische Musikinstrumente im Bachhaus Eisenach p. 74 no. I 35.
- Herbert Heyde: Historische Musikinstrumente im Bachhaus Eisenach p. 102 no. I 70.
- Herbert Heyde: Historische Musikinstrumente im Bachhaus Eisenach p. 80 no. I 42.
- Ilse Domizlaff: Das Bachhaus Eisenach, p. 104. For an even earlier tradition cf. Conrad Freyse: Fünfzig Jahre Bachhaus, p. 22: "Daß im Bachhaus die Musik nicht schweigen darf, versteht sich von selbst. Unsere Führer sind in der Lage, auf den originalen Tasteninstrumenten vorzuspielen; der historische Klang ist dem Ohr des Besuchers nahezubringen."
- Herbert Heyde: Historische Musikinstrumente im Bachhaus Eisenach p. 164-166 no. I 93.
- Herbert Heyde: Historische Musikinstrumente im Bachhaus Eisenach p. 136 no. I 80.
- Herbert Heyde: Historische Musikinstrumente im Bachhaus Eisenach p. 127 no. I 75.
- Geburtstag mit Filmpremiere und Orgelweihe. News service www.eisenachonline.de, 9 March 2012. Last checked 15 September 2012. The further history of the instrument is also peculiar: In 1816 it was acquired by the Weimar penitentiary, and on a leaflet attached to the inside of the organ, Johann August Stickel, the jail's director at the time, noted: Die zu dieser Zeit befindlichen Sträflinge, 83 an der Zahl, hat ein jeder zum geringsten 2 Groschen hinzugegeben. (The 83 convicts presently serving here have each contributed 2 Groschens at the very least.) In the 20th century, the organ was in the possession of musicologist Traugott Fedtke, who added an electric motor and a carillon, among other things. In 2009 the organ was acquired by the Bach Housse at an auction in Traunstein, in the south of Germany, and was subsequently restored. Cf. Thüringer Barockorgel kehrt in die Heimat zurück. News service www.eisenachonline.de, 10 December 2009. Last checked 15 September 2012.
- Cf. Alexander Hiller: "Wem gehörte Bachs Brille?" Bach-Magazin 17, 2011, p. 51.
- According to one theory, the occasion may have been Bach's appointment as Royal Polish Electoral Saxon Court Composer in 1736. Since the musical notes of the poem proceed in a manner called Krebs in German (each line mirrors the previous line), others assume a lavish gift expressing the gratitude (or expectation?) of Bach's most prominent Leipzig student Johann Ludwig Krebs who passed Bach's musical exam on 24 August 1735. Cf. Conrad Freyse: "Die Spender des Bach-Pokals." In: Bach-Jahrbuch 40, 1953, pp. 108–118.
- Werner Neumann, Hans Joachim Schultze: Bach-Dokumente Band II – Fremdschriftliche und gedruckte Dokumente 1685–1750. Bärenreiter, Kassel 1969, p. 423.
- Ilse Domizlaff: Das Bachhaus Eisenach, S. 21.
- For a facsimile of the estate and detailed bibliographical information for each title cf. Robin A. Leaver: Bach's theological library, Hänssler, Stuttgart 1983, ISBN 978-3-7751-0841-6, pp. 30–35.
- Bachgemälde im Bachhaus. News service www.eisenachonline.de, 22. März 2011. Last checked 16 November 2011.
- Charles Sanford Terry: Portraits of Bach. In: Music & Letters 17, 1936, pp. 286–288.
- Emanuel Traugott Goebel (1751–1813) or Johann Emanuel Goebel (1720–1759) are believed to be the painter of the portrait, cf. Ingrid Reißland: Johann Sebastian Bach – Bildnisse und Porträtplastiken im Spiegel der Bach-Ikonographie. In: Reinmar Emans (ed.): Der junge Bach – weil er nicht aufzuhalten, Erfurt: Erste Thüringer Landesausstellung, 2000, pp. 131–155 (144). For the history of the painting also cf. Günther Wagner: Ein unbekanntes Porträt Johann Sebastian Bachs aus dem 18. Jahrhundert? In: Bach-Jahrbuch 81, 1988, pp. 231–233.
- Cf. Peter Uehling: Ein neues Porträt von Johann Sebastian Bach. In: Berliner Zeitung, 6 August 2014, accessed 28 November 2014. Uehling notes that what is on display on the sheet of music in the painting is Bach's name b–a–c–h in (German) musical notation.
- Cf. Werner Neumann: Bilddokumente zur Lebensgeschichte Johann Sebastian Bachs (Bach-Dokumente vol. iv), Bärenreiter, Kassel 1979. ISBN 978-3-7618-0250-2. Gisela Vogt (ed.): Bach-Bildnisse als Widerspiegelung des Bach-Bildes. B. Katzbichler, München 1994. ISBN 978-3-87397-129-5.
- Johann Sebastian Bach: Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke, Serie I, Kantaten Band 6, Kritischer Bericht. Bärenreiter, Kassel 1996, p. 66.
- Herbert Heyde: Historische Musikinstrumente im Bachhaus Eisenach pp. 143–145 no. I 85.
- Franziska Nentwig, Uwe Fischer: Ich habe fleißig seyn müssen. Johann Sebastian Bach und seine Kindheit in Eisenach (Ausstellungskatalog). Bachhaus, Eisenach 2004. ISBN 978-3-932257-03-2
- Franziska Nentwig, Sebastian Köpcke: Johann Sebastian Bach: Ansichtssache. Bachhaus, Eisenach 2005, ISBN 978-3-932257-04-9
- No catalogue. Cf. Volker Blech: Das schwarze Schaf der Bachfamilie, in: Die Welt, 18 August 2007, last checked 16 November 2011.
- Jörg Hansen: Bach through the Mirror of Medicine: exhibition catalogue. Bachhaus, Eisenach 2008, ISBN 978-3-932257-05-6. For the exhibition also cf. Jörg Hansen: Bach im Spiegel der Medizin. Sonderausstellung im Bachhaus Eisenach, Thüringer Museumshefte 17, 2008, 1, pp. 73–81; Kate Conelly: Hello, I'm Bach, in: The Guardian, 4 March 2008, last checked 20 September 2012, Eleonore Büning: Die gottgedachte Spur, in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 27 February 2008, last checked 16. November 2011.
- Jörg Hansen, Gerald Vogt: Blood and Spirit – Bach, Mendelssohn and their music in the Third Reich (exhibition catalogue). Bachhaus, Eisenach 2009. ISBN 978-3-932257-06-3. For the exhibit also cf. Michael Levitin Rescued from the Nazis, in: Newsweek, 1 June 2009, last checked 20 September 2012, Hans Jürgen Linke: Voller Eifer, voller Zorn, in: Frankfurter Rundschau, 6 May 2009, last checked 16 November 2011.
- No catalogue. Cf. Jan Brachmann: Bitte nicht so theatralisch singen, in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 2 June 2010, last checked 16 November 2011.
- No catalogue. Cf. Michael White: "The Woman Who Legitimized the Harpsichord", The Daily Telegraph (internet blog), 14 June 2011, accessed 20 September 2012;
Aaron J. Goldman: "'Bach' to the Future With Wanda Landowska", The Jewish Daily Forward, print version 27 May 2011, accessed 20 September 2012;
Tobias Kühn: "Missionarin am Cembalo", Jüdische Allgemeine, 23 June 2011, accessed 16 November 2011.
- No catalogue. Cf. Michael Jäger: "Die Welt ist nicht aus den Fugen", Der Freitag, 23 March 2012, accessed 15 September 2012.
- Jörg Hansen: Bach & Friends. Bach's Life in 82 Copperplate Engravings. Bachhaus, Eisenach 2013, ISBN 978-3-932257-07-0.
- No catalogue. Cf. Philipp Oltermann: JS Bach's 329th birthday is red letter day for scholars and numerologists, The Guardian, 6 March 2014, accessed 29 November 2014.
- OPAC of the Bach House library
- Jörg Hansen: 100 Jahre Bachhaus Eisenach, p. 103.
- Bach-Sammlung. Website of the Berlin State Library. Last checked 16. November 2011.
- Ilse Domizlaff: Das Bachhaus Eisenach, S. 33.
- Conrad Freyse: Fünfzig Jahre Bachhaus Eisenach, pp. 17, 21.
- Herbert Heyde: Historische Musikinstrumente im Bachhaus Eisenach p. 132 no. I 78.
- Herbert Heyde: Historische Musikinstrumente im Bachhaus Eisenach p. 129 no. I 77.
- Herbert Heyde: Historische Musikinstrumente im Bachhaus Eisenach p. 127 no. I 76.
- Herbert Heyde: Historische Musikinstrumente im Bachhaus Eisenach p. 138 no. I 82.
- For these objects cf. Conrad Freyse: Fünfzig Jahre Bachhaus Eisenach, pp. 17–21. For the cranium casts cf. Jörg Hansen: Bach im Spiegel der Medizin: Ausstellungskatalog, Bachhaus, Eisenach 2008, ISBN 978-3-932257-05-6, p. 18.
- Cf. Volker Blech: Der verschollene Notenschatz von Mendelssohn Bartholdy In: Berliner Morgenpost, 14 February 2013, last checked 21 February 2013.
- Jörg Hansen: 10 Jahre Bachhaus Eisenach gGmbH, pp. 51, 60.
- For the time before 1983 cf. Ilse Domizlaff: Das Bachhaus Eisenach, also cf. http://www.nmz.de/kiz/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=11447 (Version of 27 September 2007 via archive.org).
- 2010: 62,072 visitors Amerikanische Gäste sorgen für stabile Besucherzahlen. news service www.eisenachonline.de, 5 January 2011, accessed 16 November 2011; 2012: 59,000 visitors Wartburg verliert Besucher, Bachhaus legt etwas zu., in: Thüringer Allgemeine, 10 January 2013, accessed 28 November 2014.
- Beethoven-Haus, Bonn, 2010: 100,000 visitors (from German Wikipedia's de:Beethoven-Haus); Bach-Museum, Leipzig, 2010: 48,000 visitors, cf. "Leipziger Bach-Archiv zieht positive Jahresbilanz", in: Freie Presse, 22 December 2010, accessed 17 November 2011; Händel-Haus, Halle, 2010: 34,000 visitors, cf. "Händel-Haus zieht Bilanz: 34.000 Besucher kamen 2010 nach Halle", in: news service www.hallepost.de, 12 January 2011, accessed 17 November 2011.
- Quoted from the museum texts. The first Bach monument was sponsored in 1843 by Felix Mendelssohn and stands in Leipzig in a small park behind the Church of St. Thomas; it is not to be confused with Carl Seffner's Bach statue that was erected in front of this church in 1908.
- For the history of the monument cf. Ilse Domizlaff: Das Bachhaus Eisenach, pp. 13–15; Hartmut Ellrich: Bach in Thüringen, p. 54. As a replacement for St. George's, the German Christian bishop Martin Sasse commissioned a new Bach statue from the Berlin sculptor Paul Birr, which was unveiled in 1939. For the history of this statue, that stands to the present day in St. George's, cf. Jörg Hansen and Gerald Vogt: Blood and Spirit, pp. 10–11.
- Martin Petzoldt: Bachstätten, p. 68.
- Bachhaus mit Lichtkunst. News service www.eisenachonline.de, 21 March 2011. Accessed 16 November 2011.
- Bachhaus-Ausstellung vom ADC ausgezeichnet. News service www.museumsreport.de, 17 April 2008. Last checked 16 November 2011.
- Begehbares Musikstück des Bachhauses ausgezeichnet. News service www.museumsreport.de, 20 May 2008. Last checked 16 November 2011.
- Atelier Brueckner erhält Deutschen Innenarchitekturpreis. News service www.museumsreport.de, 11 November 2008. Accessed 16 November 2011.
- Ehemaliger französischer Staatspräsident besuchte Bachhaus. News service www.eisenachonline.de, 27 September 2007. Last checked 15 September 2012.
- Nana Mouskouri mit Bachpokal gewürdigt. News service www.eisenachonline.de, 3 September 2012. Last checked 15 September 2012.
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