Please turn your hymnals to number 126 and join with the clarinets in, “Come, O Come, Thou Quickening Spirit”.
First Line: Come, O Come, Thou Quickening Spirit
Name: KOMM, O KOMM, DU GEIST DES LEBENS.
Meter: 8 7, 8 7, 7 7.
Tempo: With movement
Music: Meiningen Gesangbuch, 1693
Text: Heinrich Held, cir. 1659
Tr. Edward Traill Horn III, 1909-
Clarinet Arrangement: 126-ComeOComeThouQuickeningSpirit
It appears that this book was harmonized by J. S. Bach’s son, Johann.
KOMM, O KOMM, DU GEIST DES LEBENS
Harmonizer: Johann Christoph Bach; Composer: G. Joseph Breslau
Johann Bach was known as “The London Bach” or “John Bach”!
Johann Christian Bach was born to Johann Sebastian and Anna Magdalena Bach in Leipzig, Germany. His distinguished father was already 50 at the time of his birth, which would perhaps contribute to the sharp differences between his music and that of his father. Even so, his father first instructed him in music and that instruction continued until his death in 1750. After his father’s death, he worked (and lived) with his second-oldest half brother Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, who was twenty-one years his senior and considered at the time to be the most musically gifted of Bach’s sons.
He enjoyed a promising career, first as a composer then as a performer playing alongside Carl Friedrich Abel, the notable player of the viola da gamba. He composed cantatas, chamber music, keyboard and orchestral works, operas and symphonies.
Bach lived in Italy for many years starting in 1756, studying with Padre Martini in Bologna. He became organist at the Milan cathedral in 1760. During his time in Italy, he converted from Lutheranism to Catholicism and devoted much time to the composition of church music, including two Masses, a Requiem and a Te Deum. His first major work was a Mass, which received an excellent performance and acclaim in 1757. In 1762, Bach travelled to London to première three operas at the King’s Theatre, including Orione on 19 February 1763. That established his reputation in England, and he became music master to Queen Charlotte. He met soprano Cecilia Grassi in 1766 and married her shortly thereafter. She was his junior by eleven years. They had no children.
By the late 1770s, his music was no longer popular and his fortunes declined. His steward had embezzled almost all his wealth and Bach died in considerable debt in London on New Year’s Day, 1782. Queen Charlotte covered the expenses of the estate and provided a life pension for Bach’s widow. He was buried in the graveyard of St. Pancras Old Church, London.
Regarding the text, the author was “Silesian” which is an often disputed area on the borders of Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia.
Held, Heinrich, was son of Valentin Held of Guhrau, Silesia. He studied at the Universities of Königsberg (c. 1637-40), Frankfurt a. Oder (1643), and Leyden. He was also in residence at Rostock in 1647. He became a licentiate of law, and settled as a lawyer in his native place, where he died about 1659, or at least before Michaelmas, 1661 (Koch, iii. 55-56; Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie., xi. 680; Bode, p. 87, &c).
One of the best Silesian hymnwriters, he was taught in the school of affliction, having many trials to suffer in those times of war. His only extant poetical work is his Deutscher Gedichte Vortrab, Frankfurt a. Oder, 1643. Only one hymn from that volume came into German use. Much more important are his other hymns, which are known to us through Crüger’s Praxis, and other hymnbooks of the period. Mützell, 1858, includes Nos. 254-272 under his name.