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
Testament: Bach - Complete Sonatas & Partitas for Solo Violin / Pine
Release Date: 04/01/2016   Label: Avie  
Catalog: 2360   Number of Discs: 2
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Bach: Secular Cantatas, Vol. 7 / Suzuki, Bach Collegium Japan
Release Date: 09/09/2016   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 2191   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Goldberg Variations - Buxtehude: La capricciosa / Schornsheim
Release Date: 09/09/2016   Label: Capriccio Records  
Catalog: 5286   Number of Discs: 2
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Johann Ernst Prinz Von Sachsen-weimar: The Complete Violin Concertos; J.s. Bach: Harpsichord Transcriptions
Release Date: 02/12/2016   Label: Cpo  
Catalog: 777998   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Kantaten No. 16 / Lutz, J.S. Bach-Stiftung Orchestra
Release Date: 09/09/2016   Label: J.s. Bach Stifung  
Catalog: 431   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Sheep may safely graze (Schafe können sicher weiden)

Browse 1-25 of 148 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Best of Bach
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: HC16079 Release Date: 10/14/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Kay Johannsen,  Christoph Poppen,  Evgeni Koroliov,  Boris Kleiner  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oregon Bach Festival Chamber Orchestra,  Stuttgart Bach Collegium,  Bach Ensemble
    CD: $24.99
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  • 2.
    Carnival Fantasy / Salut Salon
    Label: Rhino (Dvd)   Catalog: 555056 Release Date: 04/22/2016  
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Traditional,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Jacques Ibert  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Salut Salon
    DVD: $24.99
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  • 3.
    Bach-Isoir: Transcriptions / Bouvard, Espinasse
    Label: La Dolce Volta   Catalog: 26 Release Date: 04/15/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  François Espinasse,  Michel Bouvard
    CD: $22.99
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  • 4.
    Stokowski Transcriptions / Serebrier, Bournemouth Symphony
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578305 Release Date: 04/08/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Richard Wagner,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Timothy Walden
    Conductor:  José Serebrier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 5.
    Carnival Fantasy / Salut Salon
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 554295 Release Date: 02/26/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Jacques Ibert,  Traditional,  Lhasa De Sela  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Salut Salon
    CD: $16.99
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  • 6.
    Bach Adagio [2015]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002415902 Release Date: 11/20/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ferruccio Busoni
    Performer:  János Starker,  András Schiff,  Janine Jansen,  Albrecht Mayer  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood,  Ottavio Dantone,  Riccardo Chailly,  John Eliot Gardiner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  English Concert,  Academia Bizantina  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 7.
    Best of German Baroque: J.S. Bach
    Label: Tafelmusik Media   Catalog: 1028 Release Date: 10/30/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik,  Tafelmusik Chamber Choir
    CD: $12.99
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  • 8.
    Two Hands  / Leon Fleisher
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 510462 Release Date: 09/25/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Domenico Scarlatti,  Frédéric Chopin,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Leon Fleisher
    CD: $11.99
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  • 9.
    The Art of Bach / Anderson & Roe
    Label: Steinway & Sons   Catalog: 30033 Release Date: 01/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Elizabeth Joy Roe,  Greg Anderson,  Augustin Hadelich
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Anderson & Roe Piano Duo
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  • 10.
    James Galway - The Complete RCA Album Collection
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 302633 Release Date: 09/16/2014   Number of Discs: 73
    Composer:  Arthur Smith,  Various,  Traditional,  Stan Lebowsky  ... 
    Performer:  James Galway,  Sylvia,  Marisa Robles,  Phillip Moll  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Scimone,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Jörg Faerber,  Eduardo Mata  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti Veneti,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Galway Pops Orchestra  ... 
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  • 11.
    Motherland / Khatia Buniatishvili
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 373462 Release Date: 07/01/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Khatia Buniatishvili
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  • 12.
    Cinema Verismo / Mak Grgic
    Label: Marquis   Catalog: 81447 Release Date: 03/18/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Isaac Albeniz,  Pietro Mascagni,  Ennio Morricone,  Vangelis  ... 
    Performer:  Mak Grgic
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  • 13.
    Bartlett & Robertson: Selected Recordings 1927-1947
    Label: Apr   Catalog: 6012 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ethel Bartlett,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Robert Schumann,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Rae Robertson,  Ethel Bartlett
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
    CD: $19.99
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  • 14.
    Classical Wellness: Musical Tonics For Mind, Body And Spirit
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3464 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Henri Vieuxtemps,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Wolseley Charles,  Dmitri Shostakovich  ... 
    Performer:  Dmitry Khakhamov,  Oleg Sergeev,  John Aler,  Grant Gershon  ... 
    Conductor:  Constantine Orbelian,  James DePreist,  Gerard Schwarz,  Anatoly Lapunov  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Russian Folk Ensemble Balalaika,  Style of Five,  Brazilian Guitar Quartet  ... 
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  • 15.
    Classical Chamomile
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 1629 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Antonín Dvorák,  Alan Hovhaness,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Elmar Oliveira,  Douglas Davis,  Zuill Bailey,  Carol Rosenberger  ... 
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz,  David Wiley,  Constantine Orbelian,  Aldo Parisot
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Shanghai Quartet,  Yale Cellos
    CD: $9.99
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  • 16.
    Gloria
    Label: Ars Produktion   Catalog: 38134 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Johann David Heinichen,  Tarquinio Merula,  Zbynek Mateju  ... 
    Performer:  Simona Saturová
    Conductor:  Jana Semerádová
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Collegium Marianum
    CD: $18.99
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  • 17.
    Wintertime
    Label: Klavier Records   Catalog: 77045 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Larry Mactaggart,  Anonymous,  William Ballet,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Kevin Sapp,  Robert Harrelson,  Eric Sabatino,  Jessica Dan  ... 
    Conductor:  Lowell E. Graham
    CD: $17.99
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  • 18.
    Pictures / Boston Cello Quartet
    Label: Cd Baby   Catalog: 5638070466 Release Date: 02/04/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Cello Quartet
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  • 19.
    Label: Alphabet Kids   Catalog: 5637707569 Release Date: 01/11/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Claude Debussy,  Frédéric Chopin,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  Yongmei Hu
    CD: $12.99
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  • 20.
    Label: Cd Baby   Catalog: 5637197396 Release Date: 09/17/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré,  Traditional,  Anonymous,  Ben Steinberg  ... 
    Performer:  Adagio Trio,  Kathryn Daniels,  Linda Grieser,  Michael Daniels  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Adagio Trio
    CD: $16.99
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  • 21.
    Leopold Stokowski - The Stereo Collection 1954-1975
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 1916852 Release Date: 08/21/2012   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Gustav Mahler,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Margaret Price,  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Anna Moffo,  Martina Arroyo  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  New Symphony Orchestra,  Norman Luboff Choir  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD: $34.99
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  • 22.
    Simply Baroque II - Bach & Boccherini / Yo-Yo Ma
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 756142 Release Date: 07/17/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Luigi Boccherini
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma,  Ton Koopman
    Conductor:  Ton Koopman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra
    CD: $8.99
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  • 23.
    Classics For Your Wedding
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 623247 Release Date: 06/05/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Johann Pachelbel,  César Franck,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Aldo Ciccolini,  Marielle Labčque,  Katia Labčque,  David [Pipe Organ] Briggs  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink,  Andrew Parrott,  Stephen Cleobury,  Paavo Järvi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Taverner Players,  Ensemble Orchestral de Paris,  Les Arts Florissants  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 24.
    Kirsten Flagstad Edition - The Decca Recitals
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001683102 Release Date: 05/29/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Richard Wagner,  Jean Sibelius,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  Kirsten Flagstad,  Sigvart Fotland,  Edwin McArthur
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Hans Knappertsbusch,  Oivin Fjeldstad,  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Recommendation
    CD: $75.49
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  • 25.
    Bravo! The No. 1 Albums / Mormon Tabernacle Choir
    Label: Mormon Tabernacle   Catalog: 5078531 Release Date: 05/01/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  William Moore,  Philip Paul Bliss,  Benjamin Franklin White,  Henry George Ley  ... 
    Performer:  Clayton Brainerd,  Andrew Unsworth,  Clay Christiansen,  Richard Elliott  ... 
    Conductor:  Mack Wilberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mormon Tabernacle Choir,  Bells on Temple Square
    CD: $39.99
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