Gottfried Reiche, 1667 - 1734, is best known for having been Johann Sebastian Bach's chief
trumpeter at Leipzig from Bach's arrival there in 1723 until Reiche's death. Reiche was a skilled
trumpet player and composer of the Baroque era, and Bach wrote amazing and difficult trumpet
parts for him to play. He was so highly esteemed that in Leipzig he was paid more than other
musicians so that he would not leave and seek employment elsewhere. In the famous painting of
him by Leipzig artist E.G. Haussmann, done for the occasion of Reiche's 60th birthday in 1727,
Reiche holds a coiled natural trumpet in his right hand and a sheet of manuscript, on which is
written a short "abblasen", his famous fanfare, in his left.
Reiche composed 122 Abblasen-Stücken, but few survived other than this one, although some
scholars attribute it to Bach himself. Reiche died of a stroke, collapsing in the street while walking
home one night. There are many legends about both he and the portrait.
Bach composed his famous Hunt Cantata BWV 208 for the birthday of Duke Christian of
Saxe-Weißenfels around 1713, when he was paid for a series of concerts in Weißenfels.
The pretty little Saxon town of Weißenfels is on the River Saale south of Halle and nearby the
"German Stonehenge" at Goseck. Although an obscure place few have ever heard of, there is
probably no other town in which so many important musicians of 17th and the first half of the 18th
century have left their mark. Weißenfels was a significant center of early German Baroque opera and
the Protestant church cantata. Johann Sebastian Bach, Gottfried Reiche, Heinrich Schütz, Johannes
Beer, Georg Friedrich Händel, Johann Philipp Krieger, Georg Philipp Telemann, Reinhard Keiser,
Johann David Heinichen and Johann Friedrich Fasch and others all had close ties with this town, as
did German poets Friedrich von Hardenberg, Louise von Francoise and Johann Gottfried Seume.
Gottfried Reiche of Weißenfels