Among the few works that can be ascribed to these early years with anything more than a show of plausibility are the Capriccio sopra la lontananza del suo fratello dilettissimo (1704; Capriccio on the Departure of His Most Beloved Brother , BWV 992), the chorale prelude on Wie schön leuchtet ( c. 1705; How Brightly Shines , BWV 739), and the fragmentary early version of the organ Prelude and Fugue in G Minor (before 1707, BWV 535a). (The “BWV” numbers provided are the standard catalog numbers of Bach’s works as established in the Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis , prepared by the German musicologist Wolfgang Schmieder.)
This situation made the post as Cantor of the Thomasschule in Leipzig very appealing when it fell vacant in 1722. Bach was not first or even second choice for the position – both Christoph Graupner and Georg Philipp Telemann were offered it but had to decline. Nearly a year after the appointment was originally advertised, Bach took up the position, pledging in his contract not to supply music which was 'too theatrical' or 'too operatic'. Bach new responsibilities including teaching various groups of scholars at the school, composing music for two churches, St. Thomas and St. Nicholas, and providing the occasional piece of music for the local university. He also had to ask permission from the Council if he wished to absent himself from Leipzig for any reason. The situation must have been very bad at Cöthen for Bach to agree to these conditions.
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In January 1703, shortly after graduating from St. Michael's and being turned down for the post of organist at Sangerhausen ,  Bach was appointed court musician in the chapel of Duke Johann Ernst III in Weimar .  His role there is unclear, but it probably included menial, non-musical duties. During his seven-month tenure at Weimar, his reputation as a keyboardist spread so much that he was invited to inspect the new organ and give the inaugural recital, at the New Church (now Bach Church ) in Arnstadt , located about 30 kilometres (19 mi) southwest of Weimar.  In August 1703, he became the organist at the New Church, with light duties, a relatively generous salary, and a fine new organ tuned in a temperament that allowed music written in a wider range of keys to be played.
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The Bach family already counted several composers when Johann Sebastian was born as the last child of a city musician in Eisenach. Having become an orphan at age 10, he lived for five years with his eldest brother, after which he continued his musical formation in Lüneburg. From 1703 he was back in Thuringia, working as a musician for Protestant churches in Arnstadt and Mühlhausen and, for longer stretches of time, at courts in Weimar—where he expanded his repertoire for the organ—and Köthen—where he was mostly engaged with chamber music. From 1723 he was employed as Thomaskantor (cantor at St. Thomas) in Leipzig. He composed music for the principal Lutheran churches of the city, and for its university's student ensemble Collegium Musicum. From 1726 he published some of his keyboard and organ music. In Leipzig, as had happened in some of his earlier positions, he had a difficult relation with his employer, a situation that was little remedied when he was granted the title of court composer by the Elector of Saxony and King of Poland in 1736. In the last decades of his life he reworked and extended many of his earlier compositions. He died of complications after eye surgery in 1750.