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A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Krebs, Johann Ludwig

KREBS, Johann Ludwig, distinguished organist, born at Buttelstadt in Thuringia Oct. 10, 1713. His father, Johann Tobias, himself an excellent organist, for seven years walked every week from Buttelstädt to Weimar, in order to take lessons from Walther, author of the Lexicon, who was organist there, and from Sebastian Bach, at that time concertmeister at Weimar. He was afterwards appointed organist at Buttelstädt, where he died. He so thoroughly grounded his son in music, that when in 1726 he went to the Thomas-Schule in Leipzig, he was already sufficiently advanced to be at once admitted by Bach into the number of his special pupils. He enjoyed Bach's instruction for nine years (to 1735), and rose to so high a place in his esteem, that he was appointed to play the clavier at the weekly practices to which Bach gave the name of 'collegium musicum.' Punning upon his pupil's name and his own, the old Cantor was accustomed to say that 'he was the best crab (Krebs) in all the brook (Bach).' At the close of his philosophical studies at Leipzig he was appointed organist successively at Zwickau, Zeitz, and Altenburg, where he remained from 1756 till his death in 1780. He was equally esteemed on the clavier and the organ, and in the latter capacity especially deserves to be considered one of Bach's best pupils. His published compositions include 'Klavier-Uebungen' (4 parts), containing chorales with variations, fugues, and suites; sonatas for clavier, and for flute and clavier; and trios for flute. Several of these have been reprinted in the collections of Korner and others. Among his unpublished works a Magnificat and 2 Sanctuses with orchestral accompaniments are highly spoken of. He left two sons, both sound musicians and composers, though not of the eminence of their father. The eldest, Ehrenfried Christian Traugott, succeeded his father as Court-organist and Musik-director at Altenburg, and on his death was succeeded by his younger brother, Johann Gottfried.

[ A. M. ]