Johann Christoph Bach (6 December 1642 – 31 March 1703) was a German composer and organist of the Baroque period. He was born at Arnstadt, the son of Heinrich Bach, Johann Sebastian Bach's great uncle, hence he was Johann Sebastian's first cousin once removed. He was also the uncle of Maria Barbara Bach, J.S. Bach's first wife. He is not to be confused with Johann Sebastian Bach's son, Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach.
Johann Christoph had a reputation as a composer that was only equalled by that of Johann Sebastian within the Bach family during his lifetime. He was organist at Eisenach and later a member of the court chamber orchestra there. His brother, Johann Michael Bach (Johann Sebastian Bach's father-in-law and Maria Barbara's father), was also a composer. Some of the works were later attributed to Johann Sebastian, but were recently recognized as written by Johann Christoph. One of the most famous works is the cantata "Meine Freundin, du bist schön," based on the Song of Solomon. His eldest son, Johann Nicolaus Bach, was also a composer.
Despite his success as a musician, Johann Christoph experienced financial difficulties, which may have resulted in his not having been selected as the guardian of Johann Sebastian when the latter's parents died. Johann Christoph was heavily in debt when he died at Eisenach.
Sebastian Bach described him in his Genealogy (1735) as "the profound composer", thus hinting at his reputation, not just within the family, but within society.
As we approach the great feast of the Epiphany on January 6th, we certainly encounter the great Epiphany hymn, "Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern" (How brightly shines the Morning Star).
If you're looking for a quick and easy Epiphany postlude, this brief but attractive setting may just be the answer!
It comes from the composer's "44 Chorale Preludes," and the score is attached below.
A photo of a portrait of J. C. Bach is also attached below.