Dorna is a amall village in the municipality of Anrode in the Unstrut-Hainich district of Thuringia, 7.8 km north-west of Mühlhausen. Nearby Cities and Towns: Eigenrieden (1.6 nm West), Bickenriede (1.2 nm North), Lengefeld (1.2 nm North), Hollenbach (0.6 nm East), Popperode (2.4 nm South). Approximate population for 7 km radius from this point: 11759.
The old Bonifatius Church in Arnstadt, set a bit apart from the large square, remained in ruins for nearly a century. Finally, however, the townspeople decided to put up a new church in its place, for "in the Hauptkirche (Oberkirche) there is not room enough for all the inhabitants of a city blessed with so abundant a population" the likely truth being that not all of the population was welcome in the church attended by the royalty and the nobility. Thus the so-called New Church (now referred to as the Bach Church) was built for the common people.
Upon entering the heavy, unadorned, square-shaped edifice one's gaze is drawn immediately to the rows of windows in the high eastern wall, the main source of light for the sanctuary. The barrel-shaped ceiling and the double rows of galleries are carried by immense columns fashioned out of oak trunks from the Thuringian Forest. The interior is decorated solely by the enchanting Rococo pulpit at one end of the choir and the Baroque organ front at the other.
The latter belonged to the original organ, installed in the church in 1703. This plain church, nearly devoid of ornament inside and out, was ennobled by the presence and music of J.S. Bach. The organ built by Johann Friedrich Wender of Mühlhausen, with its two manuals, one pedal and twenty-three registers, was located in the third gallery. At the tender age of 18, J.S. Bach was called to Arnstadt to test it when it was new. He was already an outstanding organist and possessed a fine ear for the technical quality, the tuning and the spatial sound effects of the instrument.
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach later described the ordeal of having an organ tested by his father: "He would say in jest, 'The most important thing I have to know is whether the organ has a good lung', and in order to find out he pulled all the stops and played as full-tonedly as possible. At this point .the organ builder usually went pale with fright".
The authorities were not only satisfied with the results of the organ test: Apparently the organist had withstood a trial of his own performance, for shortly thereafter he was awarded steady employment under very favourable conditions.
According to Wolff, J.S. Bach examined the new organ at the New Church (also St. Bonifatius Church; today Bach Church)) in Arnstadt in the first half of July 1703, before July 13. According to Petzold, J.S. Bach met Johann Friedrich Wender from Dörna on July 3, 1703. It is not said there where the meeting took place, although it can be assumed that it was in Arnstadt. That was the beginning of mutually fruitful relationship. J.F. Wender probably helped J.S. Bach to get his next job at the Blasiuskirche in Mühlhausen in 1707. J.S. Bach examined several organs built by J.F. Wender:
1703: Arnstadt, Neuekirche (New Church)
1708: Mühlhausen, Blasiuskirche (St. Blasius's Church)
1708/1712: Ammern, St. Vitus Kirche
1713-1714: Merseburg, Dom- und Schlosskirche (the largest instrument ever built by J.F. Wender; not known if J.S. Bach examined it)
1735: Mühlhausen, Marienkirche (St Mary's Church)
Johann Friedrich Wender was born in the first days of December I655 in the village of Dörna, near Mühlhausen. Evidence is his baptism took place on December 6 in the local church of St. George. More details are missing, because the church records of Dörna go no more back. J.F. Wender had his workshop in Mühlhausen. There is not a documented source saying that J.S. Bach has ever been in Dörna. Dörna is included the places associated with J.S. Bach only because of this indirect connection.
Christoph Wolff: Johann Sebastian Bach - The Learned Musician (W.E. Norton & Company, 2000), p. 526
Martin Petzoldt: Bachstäten Ein Reiseführer zu Johann Sebastian Bach (Insel Verlag, 2000), pp. 46, 344
Karl Müller & Fritz Wigan: Bach und Arnstadt (Historical Museum Arnstadt), p. 22