Gottfried Heinrich Bach
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Gottfried Heinrich Bach

Gottfried Heinrich Bach (26 February 1724 – 12 February 1763) was the firstborn son of Johann Sebastian Bach by his second wife Anna Magdalena Wilcke. He was born in Leipzig, where his parents had moved the year before his birth.

Gottfried Heinrich became "feeble-minded" (mildly mentally handicapped in some way) at an early age, but he played the keyboard well and C. P. E. Bach is quoted as saying that he showed "a great genius, which however failed to develop". He possibly composed: for instance the melody of the aria "So oft ich meine Tobackspfeife", BWV 515, contained in the second Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach, may be his.[1]

After his father's death in 1750 Gottfried Heinrich lived with his younger sister Elisabeth Juliane Friederica and her husband Johann Christoph Altnickol.[2] Altnickol was a musician who lived and worked in Naumburg approximately 60 km (37 mi) southwest of Leipzig. After his brother-in-law's death in 1759 Gottfried Heinrich stayed on in Naumburg with his sister until his own death a few years later.


  1. ^ (BWV2a) Alfred Dürr, Yoshitake Kobayashi (eds.), Kirsten Beißwenger. Bach Werke Verzeichnis: Kleine Ausgabe, nach der von Wolfgang Schmieder vorgelegten 2. Ausgabe. Preface in English and German. Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1998. ISBN 3765102490 - ISBN 978-3765102493, pp.308-309
  2. ^ The New Grove Bach Family MacMillan 1983, p. 3

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