Johann Sebastian Bach in Mühlhausen

A Fleeting Performance

It was a was a fleeting performance in the life of Johann Sebastian Bach. The 22-year-old composer tried to escape the restrictive conditions in Arnstadt by moving to Mühlhausen, 70 kilometres away in the Unstrut river valley, tucked in between the rising hills of Hainich and Eichsfeld. The medieval imperial city of Mühlhausen with its eleven Gothic churches, an intact city wall with walkways and fortification towers and burgher houses from various epochs was regarded as a centre for Protestant sacred music.

 

Contact
Tourist Information Mühlhausen
Ratsstraße 20
99974 Mühlhausen
Website

Tips
Themed city tour
Bach organ tour


After his organ prelude on Easter Sunday in 1707, Bach succeeded his predecessor, Georg Ahle, and reported for duty in the Divi Blasii Church. The substantially higher remuneration of 85 guilders, which was unusually generous at that time, might have figured into Johann Sebastian Bach’s decision to start a family. On October 17th 1707, he married his second cousin Maria Barbara Bach in Dornheim near Arnstadt.

In the aftermath of a guest performance for the Weimar dukes in June 1708, Johann Sebastian Bach was offered the position of court organist and “lacquey” with a salary of 150 guilders. The increased cost of living in Mühlhausen after yet another city fire in May of 1707, the meagre prospects of obtaining a new organ, and the opportunities associated with an improved financial situation convinced Johann Sebastian Bach to leave Mühlhausen already in June of 1708.

Thuringia

 

Overview
of all Bach Locations


Sights in Mühlhausen

Divi Blasii Church Mühlhausen
At Untermarkt, the second principal church of the city, a Gothic, single-nave church is located. It is closely entwined with the name of Johann Sebastian Bach. From 1707 until 1708, the composer was the organist here.

Address
Untermarkt
99974 Mühlhausen

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Interactive Media Station in Divi Blasii Church Mühlhausen
In the anteroom of Divi Blasii Church you can find an interactive media station with information about Johann Sebastian Bachs life in Mühlhausen and Thuringia. Some imagevideos of the many Bach Festivals offer music of the great composer.

Addess
Untermarkt
99974 Mühlhausen

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Sound Installation in Divi Blasii Church Mühlhausen
In the anteroom of the Divi Blasii Church you can find a sound installation with authentic sounds of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Address
Untermarkt
99974 Mühlhausen

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Bach Monument Mühlhausen
The monument next to his place of employment Divi Blasii, by sculptor Klaus Friedrich Messerschmidt shows the young Johann Sebastian Bach standing next to his pedestal.

Address
Untermarkt
99974 Mühlhausen

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Marienkirche Mühlhausen
Located in the upper part of town, the Marienkirche (St. Mary’s Church) is like a crown for Mühlhausen. It is the largest church in Thuringia after the Erfurt cathedral. Here, the radical reformer Thomas Müntzer preached his sermons, shifting the focus of German history during the Peasants’ War towards the city.

Address
Bei der Marienkirche
99974 Mühlhausen

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Bach-Organ
Listen to the young Bach's music in authentic places. Here can you find a stylised organ, on which you can push the pedal and play Bach's compositions. It also offers the most important information about his life there.

Address
Bei der Marienkirche
99974 Mühlhausen

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Town Hall
The core building of the town hall dates from around 1300. Additions in the Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque periods combine to form an extraordinary building ensemble in the midst of the historic centre. The hall, the large Council Room with Gothic frescos, and the imperial city archive of 1614 are especially worth seeing. Johann Sebastian Bach signed certificate of appointment here.

Address
Ratsstraße 25
99974 Mühlhausen

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St. George's Church in Dörna
Bach played regularly on the Wender Organ in the secularized monastery in Mühlhausen. When the monastery was demolished in 1884, the organ was taken to the church “All Saints”, and about a hundred years later found its final destination in Dörna, a small village nearby, in the baptistery of the organ builder Wender. Thanks to a dedicated club, the instrument was reconstructed there by the Dresden organ builder Kristian Wegscheider and was played again for the first time in 2001.

Address
Im Pfarrhagen
99978 Anrode OT Dörna

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