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: Cello Suites / Harrell
Release Date: 08/12/2016   Label: Decca  
Catalog: B002530102   Number of Discs: 2
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Stokowski Transcriptions - Bach, Wagner, Mussorgsky / Serebrier, Bournemouth SO
Release Date: 04/27/2010   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8505086   Number of Discs: 5
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Bach: Sonatas for Flute & Harpsichord / Fred, Hakkinen
Release Date: 08/12/2016   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8573376   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: A cembalo obligato e travers solo / Holtslag, Haugsand
Release Date: 08/26/2016   Label: Aeolus  
Catalog: AE10246   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach Concertos / La Divina Armonia
Release Date: 08/26/2016   Label: Passacaille  
Catalog: PAS 1019   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Italian Concerto, BWV 971

Browse 26-50 of 171 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Bach: Werke fur Cembalo / Hans Pischner
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300570 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Hans Pischner,  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Max Michailow  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Sanderling,  Helmut Koch,  Kurt Redel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Chamber Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle
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  • 27.
    Journeys Of The Soul - From Bach To Balakirev / Barbara Nissman
    Label: Three Oranges Recordings   Catalog: 5638269058 Release Date: 04/02/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Maurice Ravel,  Franz Liszt,  Alexander Scriabin  ... 
    Performer:  Barbara Nissman
    CD: $24.99
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  • 28.
    Bach Masterworks - The Original Jackets Collection
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001929902 Release Date: 12/10/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Hertha Töpper,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Maria Stader,  Ernst Haefliger  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Richter,  John Eliot Gardiner,  Rainer Kussmaul,  Reinhard Goebel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Bach Orchestra,  Munich Bach Choir,  English Baroque Soloists  ... 
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  • 29.
    Erato - 50 CD Collection
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 46441 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Tomaso Albinoni,  Giuseppe Tartini,  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Giuseppe Torelli  ... 
    Performer:  Maurice André,  Pierre Pierlot,  Paul Hongne,  Jacques Chambon  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Jean-François Paillard,  Frigyes Sándor,  Kent Nagano  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ens.,  Paillard Chamber Orchestra,  Vienna Soloists  ... 
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  • 30.
    J. S. Bach In The Italian Style / James Tibbles
    Label: Atoll Records (New Zealand)   Catalog: 509 Release Date: 09/10/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  James Tibbles,  Jenny Thomas
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  • 31.
    Bach: Concerti, Capriccio & Aria
    Label: Aeon   Catalog: 1111 Release Date: 07/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Olivier Cavé
    CD: $18.99
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  • 32.
    The Complete Keyboard Works Of J.s. Bach, Vol. 6
    Label: Labor Records   Catalog: 7013 Release Date: 07/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Joao Carlos Martins
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  • 33.
    Harpsichord Album
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1078 Release Date: 07/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Robert Aldwinckle
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  • 34.
    J.S. Bach: Piano Music / Nikolayeva
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1205 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ferruccio Busoni,  Myra Hess,  Wilhelm Kempff,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Tatiana Nikolayeva
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  • 35.
    Bach: Concertos For Solo Harpsichord / Ivor Bolton, St. James Baroque Players
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1309 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Ivor Bolton
    Conductor:  Ivor Bolton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. James Baroque Players
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  • 36.
    Cembalo: Inspiration Und Originalitat
    Label: Querstand   Catalog: 1217 Release Date: 01/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Henri D'Anglebert,  Johann Jacob Froberger,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Mechthild Winter
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  • 37.
    This Is Glenn Gould: The Story of a Genius [2 CDs & Book Anniversary Edition]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 542393 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Glenn Gould,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Orlando Gibbons  ... 
    Performer:  Glenn Gould
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  • 38.
    Glenn Gould: The Complete Bach Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 196114 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 44
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Glenn Gould,  Charles Libove,  Leonard Rose,  Jaime Laredo
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Vladimir Golschmann,  Pablo Casals
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Marlboro Festival Orchestra
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  • 39.
    Label: Zmi   Catalog: 5637717646 Release Date: 09/17/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Domenico Scarlatti,  Muzio Clementi,  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Juana Zayas
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  • 40.
    Bach, Debussy, Chopin Recital / Perlemuter
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 5080 Release Date: 08/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Claude Debussy,  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Vlado Perlemuter
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  • 41.
    Andras Schiff Plays Bach
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2066768 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  András Schiff
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  • 42.
    Bach: Italian Concerto; French Suites Nos. 1-3 / Ghielmi
    Label: Passacaille   Catalog: 984 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Lorenzo Ghielmi
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  • 43.
    Bach: The Six Partitas
    Label: Doremi Records   Catalog: 79856 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Helmut Walcha
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  • 44.
    Bach: French Suites, Inventions, Sinfonias, Italian Concerto / Gustav Leonhardt
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 796257 Release Date: 04/03/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt
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  • 45.
    The Complete Bach Edition
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 664202 Release Date: 03/27/2012   Number of Discs: 154
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Max van Egmond,  Kurt Equiluz,  Paul Esswood,  Walter Gampert  ... 
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Gustav Leonhardt,  Ton Koopman,  Jaap Schröder  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus,  Chorus Viennensis,  Vienna Boys' Choir  ... 
    CD: $398.99
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  • 46.
    Label: Triton (Octavia)   Catalog: 5021 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
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  • 47.
    Bach & Vivaldi / Rinaldo Alessandrini, Concerto Italiano [6-CD Set]
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 30530 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Benedetto Marcello,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Alessandro Marcello
    Performer:  Rinaldo Alessandrini,  Riccardo Minasi,  Luca Peverini,  Antonio De Secondi  ... 
    Conductor:  Rinaldo Alessandrini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Italiano
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  • 48.
    The Rough Guide To Classical Composers: Bach (With Bonus Cd: Angela Hewitt Plays Bach)
    Label: Music Rough Guides   Catalog: 331241 Release Date: 11/01/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Steven Isserlis,  Angela Hewitt,  Johannette Zomer,  Thomas Schmogner
    Conductor:  Roy Goodman,  Harry Christophers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brandenburg Consort,  The Sixteen,  Purcell Quartet  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 49.
    Murray Perahia Plays Bach Concertos
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 782429 Release Date: 07/19/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  David Miller,  Murray Perahia,  Jakob Lindberg,  Kenneth Sillito  ... 
    Conductor:  Murray Perahia
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 50.
    Kenneth Gilbert, Harpsichord & Organ - A Film By Michel Follin
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 9909036 Release Date: 07/12/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  François Couperin,  Johann Jacob Froberger
    Performer:  Kenneth Gilbert
    On sale! $28.98
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