Johann Sebastian Bach

Biography

Born: 1685   Died: 1750   Country: Germany   Period: Baroque
Johann Sebastian Bach was better known as a virtuoso organist than as a composer in his day. His sacred music, organ and choral works, and other instrumental music had an enthusiasm and seeming freedom that concealed immense rigor. Bach's use of counterpoint was brilliant and innovative, and the immense complexities of his compositional style -- which often included religious and numerological symbols that seem to fit perfectly together in a Read more profound puzzle of special codes -- still amaze musicians today. Many consider him the greatest composer of all time.

Bach was born in Eisenach in 1685. He was taught to play the violin and harpsichord by his father, Johann Ambrosius, a court trumpeter in the service of the Duke of Eisenach. Young Johann was not yet ten when his father died, leaving him orphaned. He was taken in by his recently married oldest brother, Johann Christoph, who lived in Ohrdruf. Because of his excellent singing voice, Bach attained a position at the Michaelis monastery at Lüneberg in 1700. His voice changed a short while later, but he stayed on as an instrumentalist. After taking a short-lived post in Weimar in 1703 as a violinist, Bach became organist at the Neue Kirche in Arnstadt (1703-1707). His relationship with the church council was tenuous as the young musician often shirked his responsibilities, preferring to practice the organ. One account describes a four-month leave granted Bach, to travel to Lubeck where he would familiarize himself with the music of Dietrich Buxtehude. He returned to Arnstadt long after was expected and much to the dismay of the council. He then briefly served at St. Blasius in Mühlhausen as organist, beginning in June 1707, and married his cousin, Maria Barbara Bach, that fall. Bach composed his famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor (BWV 565) and his first cantatas while in Mühlhausen, but quickly outgrew the musical resources of the town. He next took a post for the Duke of Sachsen-Weimar in 1708, serving as court organist and playing in the orchestra, eventually becoming its leader in 1714. He wrote many organ compositions during this period, including his Orgel-Büchlein. Owing to politics between the Duke and his officials, Bach left Weimar and secured a post in December 1717 as Kapellmeister at Cöthen. In 1720, Bach's wife suddenly died, leaving him with four children (three others had died in infancy). A short while later, he met his second wife, soprano Anna Magdalena Wilcke, whom he married in December 1721. She would bear 13 children, though only five would survive childhood. The six Brandenburg Concertos (BWV 1046-51), among many other secular works, date from his Cöthen years. Bach became Kantor of the Thomas School in Leipzig in May 1723 and held the post until his death. It was in Leipzig that he composed the bulk of his religious and secular cantatas. Bach eventually became dissatisfied with this post, not only because of its meager financial rewards, but also because of onerous duties and inadequate facilities. Thus, he took on other projects, chief among which was the directorship of the city's Collegium Musicum, an ensemble of professional and amateur musicians who gave weekly concerts, in 1729. He also became music director at the Dresden Court in 1736, in the service of Frederick Augustus II; though his duties were vague and apparently few, they allowed him freedom to compose what he wanted. Bach began making trips to Berlin in the 1740s, not least because his son Carl Philipp Emanuel served as a court musician there. In May 1747, the composer was warmly received by King Frederick II of Prussia, for whom he wrote the gloriously abstruse Musical Offering (BWV 1079). Among Bach's last works was his 1749 Mass in B minor. Besieged by diabetes, he died on July 28, 1750. Read less
Bach: Partitas / Igor Levit
Release Date: 08/25/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 307630   Number of Discs: 2
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Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier I / Aimard
Release Date: 08/19/2014   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 002119902   Number of Discs: 2
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Glenn Gould Plays Bach
Release Date: 06/12/2012   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 683932   Number of Discs: 6
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Bach: Toccata & Fugue; Thalben-Ball, Boellmann / James Parsons
Release Date: 10/12/2010   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28580   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Toccata & Fugue, Brandenburg Concerto No 4; Air On A G String / Carney
Release Date: 06/14/2011   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28900   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Italian Concerto, BWV 971

Browse 151-175 of 187 Available Recordings
1 2 ... 6 7 8
  • 151.
    Bach: Italian Concerto, Chromatic Fantasy, Etc / Dreyfus
    Label: Denon Records   Catalog: 7233 Release Date: 11/29/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Huguette Dreyfus
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  • 152.
    Bach: Goldberg Variations, Italian Concerto, Etc / Cole
    Label: Virgin Classics Veritas   Catalog: 61555 Release Date: 06/15/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Maggie Cole
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  • 153.
    Bach / Fazil Say
    Label: Atlantic   Catalog: 426124 Release Date: 04/13/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Fazil Say
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  • 154.
    Piano Virtuoso
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98125 Release Date: 11/30/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Frédéric Chopin,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Garrick Ohlsson,  Alfred Brendel,  Ivan Moravec,  Keiko Wakamatsu  ... 
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  • 155.
    Bach: Favorite Piano Works / Andjaparidze, Sebestyén, Rübsam
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8554041 Release Date: 10/16/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Wolfgang Rübsam,  János Sebestyén,  Eteri Andjaparidze
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  • 156.
    The Glenn Gould Silver Jubilee Album
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 60686 Release Date: 09/22/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Strauss,  Alexander Scriabin  ... 
    Performer:  Glenn Gould,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf,  Elizabeth Benson-Guy,  Charles Bressler  ... 
    Conductor:  Vladimir Golschmann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Juilliard String Quartet
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  • 157.
    Ruth Slenczynska - Historic Performances Of Bach, Liszt, Etc
    Label: Ivory Classics   Catalog: 70802 Release Date: 06/23/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Ruth Slenczynska
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  • 158.
    Bach: Goldberg Variations, Italian Concerto, Etc / Tureck
    Label: Emi Great Recordings Of The Century   Catalog: 30208 Release Date: 05/12/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Rosalyn Tureck
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  • 159.
    Take 2 - Bach: The Keyboard Album / Tureck, Rosen
    Label: Sony Classical Essential Classics   Catalog: 63231 Release Date: 11/18/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Georg Philipp Telemann
    Performer:  Charles Rosen,  Rosalyn Tureck
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  • 160.
    Glenn Gould Edition - J.s. Bach, Scarlatti, C.p.e. Bach
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 52620 Release Date: 02/25/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Domenico Scarlatti
    Performer:  Glenn Gould
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  • 161.
    Rosalyn Tureck Collection Vol 4 - A Bach Harpsichord Recital
    Label: Vai Audio   Catalog: 1139 Release Date: 01/21/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Rosalyn Tureck
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  • 162.
    Bach A La Carte - Four Different National Flavors / Schrader
    Label: Cedille Records   Catalog: 20 Release Date: 10/07/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  David Schrader
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  • 163.
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 598 Release Date: 09/24/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Jacques Duphly,  Domenico Scarlatti,  François Couperin  ... 
    Performer:  Sophie Yates
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  • 164.
    Bach: Italian Concerto, French Overture, Etc / Alfonso Fedi
    Label: Arts Music   Catalog: 47253 Release Date: 09/01/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Alfonso Fedi
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  • 165.
    Jacques Loussier Plays Bach
    Label: Telarc Jazz Zone   Catalog: 83411 Release Date: 08/27/1996  
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  André Arpino,  Jacques Loussier,  Vincent Charbonnier
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  • 166.
    Glenn Gould - Images
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 62588 Release Date: 08/20/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Glenn Gould
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  American Symphony Orchestra
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  • 167.
    Bach Instrumental Highlights / Preston, Rilling, Et Al
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98996 Release Date: 08/12/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Keiko Wakamatsu,  Junko Wakamatsu,  Thomas Indermühle,  Martha Schuster  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling,  Simon Preston
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oregon Bach Festival Chamber Orchestra,  Stuttgart Bach Collegium,  English Chamber Orchestra
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  • 168.
    The Young Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 13303 Release Date: 06/04/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Edvard Grieg,  Domenico Scarlatti,  Pellegrino Tomeoni  ... 
    Performer:  Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
    Conductor:  Alceo Galliera,  Antonio Pedrotti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
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  • 169.
    Bach: Italian Concerto, French Overture / Andras Schiff
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 448908 Release Date: 06/03/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  András Schiff
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  • 170.
    Nicholas Parle - Harpsichord Recital - Bach, Et Al
    Label: Tall Poppies   Catalog: 57 Release Date: 02/20/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Wilhelm Friedemann Bach,  Domenico Scarlatti,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Nicholas Parle
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  • 171.
    Bach's Italian Journey / Cyprien Katsaris
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 66272 Release Date: 02/13/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris
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  • 172.
    Label: Curb   Catalog: 78033 Release Date: 10/31/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Siegfried Pank,  Burkhard Glaetzner,  Walter Heinz Bernstein,  Achim Beyer  ... 
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  • 173.
    Sviatoslav Richter - Bach: Sonate, Toccata, Etc
    Label: Live Classics   Catalog: 421 Release Date: 04/18/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter
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  • 174.
    Rosalyn Tureck Plays Bach The Great Solo Works Vol 2
    Label: Vai Audio   Catalog: 1051 Release Date: 01/31/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Rosalyn Tureck
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  • 175.
    The Slokar Trombones
    Label: Claves   Catalog: 711 Release Date: 12/08/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Hans Peter Schildknecht,  George Gershwin,  Coleman,  ... 
    Performer:  Billy Brooks,  Branimir Slokar,  Silvano Bazan,  Rolf Aberer  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slokar Trombone Quartet
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