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: 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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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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Work: Sheep may safely graze (Schafe können sicher weiden)

Browse 26-50 of 148 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Ave
    Label: Churchkat   Catalog: 5637920279 Release Date: 03/20/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  George Frideric Handel,  Franz Schubert,  Samuel Barber  ... 
    Performer:  Gerry Manecke,  Colleen Moore
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  • 27.
    Beauty Of The Baroque / Danielle De Niese
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001586902 Release Date: 01/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Dowland,  George Frideric Handel,  Henry Purcell,  Claudio Monteverdi  ... 
    Performer:  Danielle De Niese,  Andreas Scholl
    Conductor:  Harry Bicket
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
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  • 28.
    50 Most Essential Bach Masterpieces
    Label: X5   Catalog: 113 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Henrik Mawe,  Klemens Schnorr,  Pieter Schoeman,  Vesselin Gellev  ... 
    Conductor:  David Parry,  Mikhail Gantvarg,  Jansug Kakhidze,  Saulius Sondeckis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Petersburg Soloists,  Bach Collegium Japan,  Moravian Trio
    CD: $24.99
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  • 29.
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 828662 Release Date: 11/01/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Henry Purcell,  Jean-Philippe Rameau  ... 
    Performer:  Nancy Argenta,  Crispian Steele-Perkins,  Gudrun Jahn,  Barbara Hendricks  ... 
    Conductor:  Gyorgy Fischer,  Kirk Trevor,  Louis Langrée,  Bernard Haitink  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Paris National Opera Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 30.
    Baby To Be - Tender Classical Music For Your Unborn Baby
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 28842 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Léo Delibes,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    CD: $7.99
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  • 31.
    Ultimate Wedding Collection [emi Classics]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27203 Release Date: 05/17/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  George Frideric Handel,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Markus Klinko,  Ian Brown,  Susan Tomes,  Frederic Bayco  ... 
    Conductor:  Reginald Kilbey,  Stephen Cleobury,  Sir David Willcocks,  Kenneth Montgomery  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nash Ensemble,  Taverner Players
    CD: $17.99
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  • 32.
    Trumpet Voluntary - Music For Organ And Brass / Hurford
    Label: Argo   Catalog: 433451 Release Date: 04/04/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Marc-Antoine Charpentier,  Henry Purcell,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Jean-François Dandrieu  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Hurford
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Michael Laird Brass Ensemble
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  • 33.
    Icon - Elisabeth Schwarzkopf - Perfect Prima Donna
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 18459 Release Date: 03/22/2011   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gottfried H. Stölzel,  George Frideric Handel,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  J. Edward Merret,  Harold Jackson,  Geraint Jones,  Manoug Parikian  ... 
    Conductor:  Peter Gellhorn,  Otto Klemperer,  Thurston Dart,  Josef Krips  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 34.
    The Bach Experience
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 80821 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Angela Maria Blasi,  Marie-Claire Alain,  Alan Curtis,  Ton Koopman  ... 
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Gustav Leonhardt,  Ton Koopman,  Hans Gillesberger
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  • 35.
    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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  • 36.
    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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  • 37.
    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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  • 38.
    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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  • 39.
    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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  • 40.
    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 T. Thomas,  Peter Schreier
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  • 41.
    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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  • 42.
    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  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 43.
    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:  Crispian Steele-Perkins,  Gillian Fisher,  John Mark Ainsley,  Lisa Beznosiuk  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert King
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The King's Consort
    CD: $9.99
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  • 44.
    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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  • 45.
    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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  • 46.
    Essential Bach
    Label: Warner 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
    CD: $12.99
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  • 47.
    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,  William Bennett,  George Malcolm  ... 
    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  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 48.
    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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  • 49.
    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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  • 50.
    Label: Michael Higgins   Catalog: 5637621072 Release Date: 01/01/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Higgins,  Anonymous,  Traditional,  Dionysio Aguado  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Higgins
    CD: $18.99
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