Johann Bach (1604–1673) “Unser Leben ist ein Schatten”
Chorale Motet [mix ch,(org ad lib.)]
SSATTB ATB – org ad lib.
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There can be no doubt about it: The Bachs were a family of musicians. One of them was Johann Bach, who lived from 1604 to 1673 and experienced the turbulent times of the Thirty Years' War. When he – as the first in the family – found joy and fulfillment not only as an organist, but also as a composer, he would certainly never have imagined what historically great steps his successors were to take, especially his great nephew Johann Sebastian.
Johann Bach's motet Unser Leben ist ein Schatten was published in 1821, but was erroneously attributed to Johann Michael Bach. Unusual is the scoring with one six-part main chorus and one three-part off-stage chorus ("Chorus latens") which gives the piece a spatial sound depth and thus a very particular atmosphere.