A previously unknown document, describing the work methods of Johann Sebastian Bach, has been discovered in the parish archives of Döbeln in Central Saxony. In a letter attached to an application for the position of cantor in Döbeln, one of Bach’s students, Gottfried Benjamin Fleckeisen, reports that he, while in Leipzig, “performed and conducted . . . the music in both St. Thomas Church and St. Nicholas Church . . . in place of Capellmeister Bach . . . for two whole years.” This suggests that, toward the end of his life, Bach had withdrawn from his tasks as cantor and was not producing sacred works for use in Leipzig.
The document was uncovered by Michael Maul in the final days of the research project “Systematic Investigation of the Lives of Members of Bach’s St. Thomas Boys Choir.” Due to the possible implications of this most recent finding, funding for the project, launched in 2012 on the occasion of the eight hundredth anniversary of the St. Thomas Boy Choir, has been extended for an additional year by the Gerda Henkel Foundation.