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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 Art of Fugue / Angela Hewitt
Release Date: 10/14/2014   Label: Hyperion  
Catalog: 67980   Number of Discs: 2
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Glenn Gould - The Complete Bach Collection
Release Date: 10/30/2012   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 196114   Number of Discs: 44
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Bach: St. Matthew Passion / Kozena, Padmore, Rattle
Release Date: 09/30/2014   Label: Berlin Philharmonic  
Catalog: 140021   Number of Discs: 3
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Bach: The Six French Suites / Sergey Schepkin
Release Date: 11/11/2014   Label: Steinway & Sons  
Catalog: 30046   Number of Discs: 2
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Vivaldi, Bach: Magnificats, Concerti / Savall
Release Date: 12/09/2014   Label: Alia Vox  
Catalog: 9909   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Sheep may safely graze (Schafe können sicher weiden)

Browse 26-50 of 179 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Bach: 6 Sonaten Fur Orgel In Bearbeitungen Fur 2 Klaviere Zu 4 Handen
    Label: Fuga Libera   Catalog: 572 Release Date: 01/11/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Burkhard Spinnler,  Claudine Orloff
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  • 27.
    Best Children's Classics 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 17626 Release Date: 01/11/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Katia Labčque,  Marielle Labčque,  Moura Lympany  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Riccardo Muti,  Simon Rattle  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 28.
    Instrumental Music For Christmas
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 9.00104 Release Date: 12/19/2010   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Katherine K. Davis,  Franz Xaver Gruber,  Traditional,  James Pierpont  ... 
    Performer:  Gloria Whitney,  Nancy Baun,  John Eaken
    Conductor:  Peter Breiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kosice Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra,  Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia,  Eaken Piano Trio
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  • 29.
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 648500 Release Date: 11/16/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Katia Labčque,  Marielle Labčque,  Moura Lympany  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Riccardo Muti,  Simon Rattle  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 30.
    Bach: Concertos, Brandenburg Concertos / London Conchord Ensemble
    Label: Champs Hill Records   Catalog: 14 Release Date: 11/16/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Florian Uhlig
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Conchord Ensemble
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  • 31.
    A String Quartet Christmas  - Volumes 1-3
    Label: Steinway & Sons   Catalog: 50001 Release Date: 09/28/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Lowell Mason,  Traditional,  John Francis Wade,  Richard Storrs Willis  ... 
    Performer:  Nathaniel Rosen,  Alexander Romanul,  Arturo Delmoni,  Katherine Murdock  ... 
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  • 32.
    Barbara Hendricks Sings Bach, Barber & Copland
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 29355 Release Date: 09/14/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Aaron Copland,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Barbara Hendricks,  Maurice Murphy,  Hĺkan Hardenberger,  Eckart Haupt  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Peter Schreier
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  • 33.
    Essential Relaxing Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27930 Release Date: 08/24/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Cécile Ousset,  Jacqueline Du Pré,  Hugh Bean  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Alberto Lysy,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Simon Rattle  ... 
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  • 34.
    Essential Wedding
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27937 Release Date: 08/24/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Markus Klinko,  Tasmin Little,  Piers Lane,  Frederic Bayco  ... 
    Conductor:  Reginald Kilbey,  Stephen Cleobury,  Sir David Willcocks,  Kenneth Montgomery  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nash Ensemble,  Camerata Lysy,  Liverpool Cathedral & Brass Ensemble  ... 
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  • 35.
    Famous Baroque Arias / Ainsley, Bowman, Fisher, George, King's Consort
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1102 Release Date: 07/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  John Weldon,  Henry Purcell,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Roy Goodman,  Gillian Fisher,  Crispian Steele-Perkins,  James Bowman  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert King
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The King's Consort
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  • 36.
    O Holy Night / Jeannine Dennis
    Label: Eroica Classical Recordings   Catalog: 3337 Release Date: 07/07/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Lowell Mason,  Felix Mendelssohn,  John Francis Wade,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Jeannine Dennis,  Tom Albrecht
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  • 37.
    Selections / Loretta Mento
    Label: Eroica Classical Recordings   Catalog: 3323 Release Date: 07/07/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Frédéric Chopin,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Domenico Scarlatti  ... 
    Performer:  Loretta A. Mento,  Steven Romano Mento
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  • 38.
    Stokowski Transcriptions - Bach, Wagner, Mussorgsky / Serebrier, Bournemouth SO
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8505086 Release Date: 04/27/2010   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Giovanni Palestrina,  William Byrd  ... 
    Conductor:  José Serebrier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
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  • 39.
    Essential Bach
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 95424 Release Date: 02/23/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Philip Pickett,  Catherine Latham,  Iona Brown,  William Bennett  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugen Jochum,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Wolfgang Gönnenwein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 40.
    Essential Baroque
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 95429 Release Date: 02/23/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Pachelbel,  George Frideric Handel,  Tomaso Albinoni  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Gerald Finley,  George Malcolm,  William Bennett  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Stephen Cleobury,  Yehudi Menuhin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Camerata Lysy,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Early Music Consort of London  ... 
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  • 41.
    Heavensong - Music Of Contemplation & Light / Mormon Tabernacle Choir
    Label: Mormon Tabernacle   Catalog: 5035926 Release Date: 01/26/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Astor Piazzolla,  David Foster,  John Rutter,  Howard Goodall  ... 
    Conductor:  Mack Wilberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mormon Tabernacle Choir
    CD: $17.99
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  • 42.
    Troubled Water - Organ Music From The Film
    Label: Two-l   Catalog: 66 Release Date: 01/26/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Iver Kleive,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Paul Simon,  Antonio Vivaldi
    Performer:  Iver Kleive
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  • 43.
    Label: Michael Higgins   Catalog: 5637621072 Release Date: 01/01/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Higgins,  Anonymous,  Traditional,  Dionysio Aguado  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Higgins
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  • 44.
    KDFC presents A String Quartet Christmas
    Label: Kdfc   Catalog: 1109 Release Date: 11/17/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Traditional,  Hector Berlioz,  Gustav Holst  ... 
    Performer:  Emily Mitchell,  Nathaniel Rosen,  Natasha Lipkina,  Nina Bodnar  ... 
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  • 45.
    Bach Transcribed - Godowsky, Petri, Saint-saens, Siloti / Alessio Bax
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 156 Release Date: 10/27/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Alessio Bax
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  • 46.
    Yo-Yo Ma - 30 Years Outside the Box
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 752307 Release Date: 10/27/2009   Number of Discs: 90
    Composer:  Sandeep Das,  Traditional,  Kayhan Kalhor,  Zhou Long  ... 
    Performer:  Joseph Gramley,  Kim Dong-Won,  Yo-Yo Ma,  Mark Suter  ... 
    Conductor:  Miguel Harth-Bedoya,  John T. Williams,  Ennio Morricone,  Isaac Stern  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Silk Road Ensemble,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Qi Lin  ... 
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  • 47.
    Bach: Cantatas Highlights
    Label: Challenge   Catalog: 72337 Release Date: 10/13/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Klaus Mertens,  Lisa Larsson,  Christoph Prégardien,  Elisabeth von Magnus  ... 
    Conductor:  Ton Koopman
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  • 48.
    A Guitar For Christmas / Liona Boyd
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 37248 Release Date: 09/14/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Eric Robertson,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Traditional,  William James Kirkpatrick  ... 
    Performer:  Liona Boyd
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  • 49.
    Bach Adagios
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001313002 Release Date: 08/11/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    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  ... 
    On sale! $48.99
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  • 50.
    50 Classics For Relaxation / Ingman, Gerhardt, Gamley, Et Al
    Label: Time/Life Music   Catalog: 24742 Release Date: 06/30/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jules Massenet,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Johann Paul A. Martini  ... 
    Performer:  Keith Harvey,  José Luis Garcia,  Larry Dalton,  Skaila Kanga  ... 
    Conductor:  David Firman,  Franck Pourcel,  Charles Gerhardt,  Eric Hammerstein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Franck Pourcel Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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