The Gospel According to J.S. Bach: Did You Know?
BAROQUE: The period of music history from 1600 to 1750, beginning with the birth of opera and ending with the death of Bach. This was an era characterized by flamboyance and vivid expression. It was also the golden age of Lutheran church music.
BWV:Bach- Werke-Verzeichnis or Bach Works Catalog, the numbering system used to refer to Bach's compositions There are over 1000 BWV items in all—a testimony to Bach's astounding output. Bach was modest about his achievements, offering the classic understatement, "1 was obliged to be industrious; whoever is equally industrious will succeed equally well." In his lifetime he was known as a good church musician, not as a composer, and he was largely forgotten until Felix Mendelssohn performed the St. Matthew Passion in Berlin in 1829. The Bach Society, established in 1850, began collecting and publishing Bach's works—a century after his death.
PULL OUT ALL THE STOPS: Put all of one's energies into something. This literally refers to pulling out the "stops" in a pipe organ so the maximum amount of air is flowing through the pipes and the organ is playing with the loudest volume. Bach not only "pulled out all the stops" in his music, proving himself to be one of the most creative and prolific composers in history, but he was also an expert in organ design and was called upon to examine new or repaired organs all over Germany. Bach's first biographer recorded, "The first thing he did in trying out an organ was to draw out all the stops and to play with the full organ. He used to say in jest that he must first of all know whether the instrument had good lungs."
KAPELLMEISTER: Literally "chapel master." However, in Bach's time it referred to the person in charge of the music at court. ...