Recordings/Discussions
Background Information
Performer Bios

Poet/Composer Bios

Additional Information

Biographies of Poets & Composers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | Bach & Other Composers

Johann Ludwig Krebs (Composer)

Born: October 12, 1713 - Buttelstädt, Germany
Died: January 1, 1780 - Altenburg, Germany

Johann Ludwig Krebs was a composer whose career spanned the end of the Baroque and beginning of the Classical era. In many respects, it typifies the problems many musicians had in coping with the drastic change of style this implies. Since he was an exceptionally skilled writer of counterpoint, he might have ended up with considerably wider fame if he had been born 20 years earlier.

Johann Ludwig was the son of Johann Tobias Krebs, the organist of Buttelstedt, near Weimar, who had studied with J.S. Bach. Father taught son organ, harmony, theory, and counterpoint. The lad was sent to enter the Thomasschule in Leipzig, where J.S. Bach was music director. Krebs general studies and lessons in singing, lute, violin, and keyboard. He remained a singer in J.S. Bach's choir until 1730.

J.L. Krebs attended the University of Leipzig from 1735 to 1737, took part on an as-needed basis in J.S. Bach's choir at the Thomaskirche and was the harpsichord player in the university's collegium musicum, which was also directed by J.S. Bach. Krebs left Leipzig in 1737 to take a position as organist of the Marienkirche in Zwickau, an ill-paid job playing an equally ill-maintained organ. While there, he met and married Johanna Sophie Nackens, daughter of a civil servant there. Soon, they had the first of their children, Johann Gottfried Krebs (1741-1814), an organist who wrote a large number of cantatas in his long-standing tenure as Mittelorganist or Stadtkantor of Altenberg. In 1744, J.L. Krebs moved to Zeitz to become organist there for 12 years. He tried unsuccessfully to become J.S. Bach's successor. In 1755, he accepted a position as organist to the court of Prince Friedrich of Gotha-Altenberg in Altenburg. The organ was better, the court was more exalted, but the pay was little improvement. Still, he continued to get by and retained the post until death. Family finances were somewhat helped when Johann Gottfried became his assistant organist.

J.L. Krebs had a very high reputation among his contemporaries. J.S. Bach held him in high regard, punning on both their names (Krebs [crab or crayfish] and Bach [brook or stream]) by saying "He is the only crayfish in my stream." It is not surprising that many of his works, especially his organ compositions, are very much like those of J.S. Bach. His harpsichord music is probably what was best-known of his work in his own time, published extensively, particularly in four volumes of Clavier Ubung. J.L. Krebs also wrote significant quantities of orchestral and choral music. His name and music contributed to one of the most delicious inside jokes in movie music history. To echo the on-screen motion of the giant crab in the film Mysterious Island, with its independently moving legs, Bernard Herrmann orchestrated a cancrizan (i.e. crab-motion) fugue by the "crab" composer, Krebs.

J.S. Bach Connection

From 1726 to 1735 Johann Ludwig Krebs was enrolled at the Thomasschule in Leipzig, where J.S. Bach was Kantor. While in Leipzig, J.L. Krebs was one of J.S. Bach's private keyboard pupils, and from 1729 to 1731 he copied performing parts for various church cantatas by J.S. Bach. (Like his father, J.L. Krebs also appears as a scribe in the manuscript complex P 801-3 mentioned above.) In a testimonial (1735) J.S. Bach praised J.L. Krebs not only as a performer on keyboard instruments, violin, and lute, but also as a composer. During his university years he assisted J.S. Bach at the Thomaskirche and played the harpsichord in the collegium musicum. Despite all his Leipzig connections, J.L. Krebs failed in his application to become J.S. Bach's successor. J.S. Bach allegedly referred to him as 'the only crayfish ["Krebs"] in my brook ["Bach"]'.

Source: All Music Guide Website (Author: Joseph Stevenson); Malcom Boyd, editor: Oxford Composer Companion J.S. Bach (Oxford University Press, 1999, Article author: Russell Stinson)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (December 2005, November 2008)

Works previously attributed to J.S. Bach

Christe eleison, BWV 242 [by J.S, Bach to Mass in C minor, BWV Anh 26 by Francesco Durante; not by J.L. Krebs]
Prelude for organ in C major, BWV 567
Chorale Prelude for organ Wir glauben all' an einen Gott, Vater (IV), BWV 740 (?)
Sanctus in F, BWV Anh 27
Fugue for keyboard in F sharp major, BWV Anh 97
Chorale Prelude for organ Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend, BWV Anh 172
Fugue for keyboard in A minor, BWV Anh 181

Use of Chorale Melodies in his works

Title

Chorale Melody

Year

Allein Gott in der Hösh Sei Her, Chorale Prelude for Organ

Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr

Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr, chorale for organ

Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr

Es ist das Heil uns kommen her, Chorale Prelude for Organ

Es ist das Heil uns kommen her

Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele, Chorale Prelude for Organ

Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele

Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir, Chorale Prelude for Organ

Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir

Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir, Chorale for organ

Herr Gott, dich loben wir [The German Tedeum]

Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut, Chorale Prelude for Organ

Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut

Herr Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht (Version unknown), Chorale Prelude for Organ

Herr Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht

Jesu, meine Freude, Chorale Prelude for Organ with obbligato oboe

Jesu, meine Freude

1743

Jesu, meine Freude, Cantata SATB, ob, str, bc, ed. N. Klose (Embühren, 1993)

Jesu, meine Freude

Jesu, meine Freude, Chorale Prelude for Organ

Jesu, meine Freude

Jesu, meine Freude, for Organ (Clavierübung)

Jesu, meine Freude

Preambulum sopra Jesu, mein Freude, for organ

Jesu, meine Freude

Komm, heiliger Geist, Herre Gott, Chorale Prelude for Organ and Oboe or Trumpet

Komm, Heiliger Geist, Herre Gott

Kommt her zu mir, spricht Gottes Sohn, Chorale Prelude for Organ with Oboe
Fantasia on Kommt her zu mir, spricht Gottes Sohn, for organ & horn obbligato

Kommt her zu mir, spricht Gottes Sohn

Machs mit mir, Gott, nach deiner Güt per Canonem, et quidem per Diminutionem, Chorale Prelude for Organ

Machs mit mir, Gott, nach deiner Güt

2 Chorale Preludes for Organ on Meinen Jesum laß ich nicht

Meinen Jesum laß ich nicht

O Gott, du frommer Gott, 2 Chorale Preludes for Organ, one with an obbligato instrument

O Gott, du frommer Gott

In allen meinen Taten, Chorale Prelude for Organ (Trp.)

O Welt, ich muß dich lassen

Chorale for organ, Vater unser im Himmelreich [questionable authencity]

Vater unser im Himmelreich

Praeambulum supra Vater unser im Himmelreich [questionable authencity]

Vater unser im Himmelreich

Von Gott will ich nicht lassen, Chorale Prelude for Organ

Von Gott will ich nicht lassen

Warum betrübst du dich, mein Herz, Chorale Prelude for Organ

Warum betrübst du dich, mein Herz

Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan, Chorale Prelude for Organ

Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan

Was mein Gott will, das gscheh allzeit, Chorale Prelude for Organ

Was mein Gott will, das g’scheh allzeit

Chorale Prelude for trumpet & organ Was mein Gott will, das gescheh all

Was mein Gott will, das g’scheh allzeit

Wenn mein Stündlein vorhanden ist, Chorale for Organ

Wenn mein Stündlein vorhanden ist

Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten, Chorale Prelude for Organ

Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten

Wir Christenleut Chorale, Prelude for Organ

Wir Christenleut habn jetzund Freud

Wo soll ich fliehen hin, Chorale Prelude for Organ

Wo soll ich fliehen hin

Links to other Sites

Johann Ludwig Krebs (AMG)
Krebs, Johann Ludwig (1713 - 1780) (Karadar)
HOASM: Johann Ludwig Krebs

The Johann Ludwig Krebs Mp3 Page on Classic Cat
Krebs, Johann Ludwig (MDR.DE) [German]
Johann Ludwig Krebs (Encyclopædia Britannica)

Bibliography

 

Biographies of Poets & Composers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | Bach & Other Composers

Introduction | Cantatas | Other Vocal | Instrumental | Performers | General Topics | Articles | Books | Movies | New
Biographies | Texts & Translations | Scores | References | Commentaries | Music | Concerts | Festivals | Tour | Art & Memorabilia
Chorale Texts | Chorale Melodies | Lutheran Church Year | Readings | Poets & Composers | Arrangements & Transcriptions
Search Website | Search Works/Movements | Terms & Abbreviations | Copyright | How to contribute | Sitemap | Links



 

Back to the Top


Last update: ýJuly 29, 2009 ý09:27:28