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: The Well-Tempered Clavier I / Aimard
Release Date: 08/19/2014   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 002119902   Number of Discs: 2
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Baroque Collection - Handel, Vivaldi, Bach, Pachelbel, Et Al
Release Date: 09/29/1992   Label: Emi Classics  
Catalog: 67425   Number of Discs: 2
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Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Violin Concertos / Rees, Scottish Ensemble
Release Date: 05/05/1998   Label: Virgin Classics Veritas  
Catalog: 61403   Number of Discs: 2
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Bach: Orchestral Suites / Pinnock
Release Date: 05/08/2007   Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)  
Catalog: 000872302   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Partitas / Igor Levit
Release Date: 08/25/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 307630   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Sheep may safely graze (Schafe können sicher weiden)

Browse 151-175 of 187 Available Recordings
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  • 151.
    The Ultimate Wedding Album
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 452663 Release Date: 03/03/1997  
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Richard Wagner,  Johann Pachelbel  ... 
    Performer:  Stephen Cleobury
    Conductor:  Karl Münchinger,  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra,  Simon Preston
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  • 152.
    Kids Classics - Lullabies
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 66229 Release Date: 02/18/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré,  Johannes Brahms,  Frédéric Chopin,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Victoria de los Angeles,  John Ogdon,  Jack Brymer,  Annie Fischer  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Wolfgang Sawallisch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Sinfonia of London,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 153.
    A Recital Of Intimate Works / Andrew Rangell
    Label: Dorian Discovery   Catalog: 80147 Release Date: 01/14/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Enescu,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Andrew Rangell
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  • 154.
    For Weddings / Kevin Bowyer
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7712 Release Date: 04/02/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Sir William Walton,  John Stanley,  Charles-Marie Widor  ... 
    Performer:  Kevin Bowyer
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  • 155.
    Serenade - Works For Piano Inspired By The Voice / Eikner
    Label: Aca Digital   Catalog: 20040 Release Date: 02/20/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Edward Eikner,  Neva Langley Fickling
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  • 156.
    Bach: Famous Works
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 553220 Release Date: 01/04/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Hae-won Chang,  Wolfgang Rübsam
    Conductor:  Jaroslav Dvorák,  István Bogár,  Bohdan Warchal,  Robert Stankovsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Istropolitana,  Budapest Strauss Ensemble,  Camerata Cassovia
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  • 157.
    Classical Music Start-up Kit Vol 1 {1500-1825}
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550779 Release Date: 01/04/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Jirí Stivín,  Gabriele Lechner,  Robert Holzer,  Eliane Elias  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Edlinger,  Johannes Wildner,  Barry Wordsworth,  András Ligeti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Istropolitana,  Zagreb Philharmonic,  Vienna Mozart Academy  ... 
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  • 158.
    All Of The World's Most Beautiful Melodies! / Mccann, Et Al
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 4536 Release Date: 10/17/1995   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Traditional,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Johann Paul A. Martini,  Helen Guy  ... 
    Performer:  Phillip McCann,  Simon Lindley,  Roy Newsome,  Skaila Kanga  ... 
    Conductor:  Roy Newsome,  Major Peter Parkes,  Douglas Blackledge,  Gordon Langford
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sellers Engineering Band,  Huddersfield Choral Society,  Leeds Parish Church Boys' Choir  ... 
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  • 159.
    Bach At Bedtime
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 446915 Release Date: 10/17/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Pepe Romero,  Heinz Holliger,  György Sebok,  János Starker  ... 
    Conductor:  Heinz Holliger,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Iona Brown,  Arpád Gerecz  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Les Solistes Romands,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 160.
    Oxford Book Of Wedding Music / Jeremy D. Filsell
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 7107 Release Date: 05/23/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Sir William Walton,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Andrew Carter  ... 
    Performer:  Jeremy Filsell
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  • 161.
    The World's Most Beautiful Melodies Vol 5 / Phillip Mccann
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 4532 Release Date: 09/20/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vittorio Monti,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Phillip McCann,  Simon Lindley
    Conductor:  Major Peter Parkes
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sellers Engineering Band,  Huddersfield Choral Society
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  • 162.
    Noel / Canadian Brass, Galway, Stoltzman, Hadley, Et Al
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 62683 Release Date: 08/16/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Lennon,  Christopher Dedrick,  Carlos Salzedo,  Adolphe Adam  ... 
    Performer:  Eugene Watts,  Charles Daellenbach,  David Ohanian,  Frederic Mills  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canadian Brass
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  • 163.
    Bach - Greatest Hits
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 64051 Release Date: 08/09/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gottfried H. Stölzel
    Performer:  Igor Kipnis,  Nicholas Danby,  Alexander Schreiner,  Frank Asper  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Eugene Ormandy,  Richard P. Condie,  Raymond Leppard  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London String Players,  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Mormon Tabernacle Choir  ... 
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  • 164.
    Wedding Music / Bertalan Hock
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550790 Release Date: 02/15/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Tomaso Albinoni  ... 
    Performer:  Bertalan Hock,  György Geiger
    Conductor:  István Bogár
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Strauss Ensemble
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  • 165.
    Basic 100 Vol 34 - Baroque Brass / Canadian Brass, Et Al
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 61852 Release Date: 01/18/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Henry Purcell,  Giovanni Gabrieli,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Graham Ashton,  Paul Archibald
    Conductor:  Donald Fraser
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canadian Brass,  English Chamber Orchestra Brass Ensemble
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  • 166.
    Stokowski's Symphonic Bach / Bamert, Bbc Philharmonic
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 9259 Release Date: 01/04/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Matthias Bamert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 167.
    Emma Kirkby Collection / Darlow, Goodman, Page, Rooley
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 66227 Release Date: 11/12/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sigismondo D'India,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Thomas Campion,  Claudio Monteverdi  ... 
    Performer:  Emma Kirkby,  Anthony Rooley,  David Reichenberg
    Conductor:  Roy Goodman,  Andrew Parrott,  Anthony Rooley,  Christopher Page  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parley of Instruments,  Taverner Players,  Consort of Musicke  ... 
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  • 168.
    Parents - The Lullaby Album
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64897 Release Date: 10/12/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Erik Satie,  Frédéric Chopin,  Robert Schumann,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Tzimon Barto,  Alexis Weissenberg,  Christopher Parkening,  Nancy Allen  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson,  Sir Charles Groves,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Roger Wagner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra,  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
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  • 169.
    Bride's Guide To Wedding Music
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64899 Release Date: 09/14/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles-Marie Widor,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Jane Parker-Smith,  Christopher Parkening,  John Shirley-Quirk,  Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Louis Auriacombe
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Taverner Players,  Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 170.
    Christopher Parkening - The Great Recordings
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 54905 Release Date: 09/14/1993   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Joseph Brackett,  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Christopher Parkening,  David Brandon
    Conductor:  Andrew Litton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 171.
    Ceremonial Music For Trumpet And Organ / Smedvig, Murray
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80341 Release Date: 04/27/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Battist Martini,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Alan Hovhaness,  Jacques de Saint-Luc  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Murray,  Rolf Smedvig,  Jeffrey Curnow,  Martin Hackleman  ... 
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  • 172.
    James Galway's Christmas Carol / Royal Philharmonic
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 61233 Release Date: 10/16/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Traditional,  John Ireland,  John Jacob Niles  ... 
    Performer:  John Birch,  James Galway
    Conductor:  James Galway,  Barry Griffiths
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Canterbury Children's Choir,  BBC Singers
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  • 173.
    Bach Collection
    Label: American Gramaphone   Catalog: 592 Release Date: 09/01/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  John Rutter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia
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  • 174.
    Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring / Mormon Tabernacle Choir
    Label: Sony Classical Masterworks   Catalog: 48296 Release Date: 07/14/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  Jerold Ottley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Mormon Tabernacle Choir,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra
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  • 175.
    Bach - Greatest Hits
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 60828 Release Date: 09/06/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Virgil Fox,  James Galway,  Josef Suk,  Aurčle Nicolet  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski,  Arthur Fiedler,  James Galway,  Rudolf Baumgartner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Pops,  Zagreb Soloists  ... 
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