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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: 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 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: The Six French Suites / Sergey Schepkin
Release Date: 11/11/2014   Label: Steinway & Sons  
Catalog: 30046   Number of Discs: 2
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Kerstmis Noel Christmas Weihnachten / Netherlands Bach Society
Release Date: 11/08/2011   Label: Channel Classics  
Catalog: 6111   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Brandenburg Concerto no 1

Browse 101-125 of 155 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos 1-3, Etc / Koopman, Amsterdam Baroque
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 4613632 Release Date: 05/03/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Jean-Pierre Rampal
    Conductor:  Ton Koopman,  Jean-François Paillard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra,  Paillard Chamber Orchestra
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  • 102.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 302 Release Date: 12/16/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Louise Schulman,  Mayuki Fukuhara,  Krista Bennion-Feeney,  Maureen Gallagher  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble
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  • 103.
    1+1  Bach: Brandenburgische Konzerte No 1-6
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 2901634 Release Date: 10/14/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Raphael Alpermann,  Christine Busch,  Antje Schurrock,  Midori Seiler  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy for Ancient Music Berlin
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  • 104.
    Bach Festival, Prades 1950 / Casals, Szigeti, Wummer, Et Al
    Label: Pearl   Catalog: 200 Release Date: 07/22/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  June Rotenberg,  Leopold Mannes,  Leopold Teraspulsky,  John Wummer  ... 
    Conductor:  Pablo Casals
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prades Festival Orchestra
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  • 105.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concerto 1, 2, 5 / Karl Richter
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 48993 Release Date: 05/20/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Karl Richter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Karl Richter Chamber Orchestra
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  • 106.
    Bach: Orchestral Suites, Etc / Kehr, Faerber, Et Al
    Label: Vox Box   Catalog: 3608 Release Date: 12/10/2002   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Günter Höller,  Georg Egger,  Christine Sartoretti,  Christiane Jaccottet  ... 
    Conductor:  Jörg Faerber,  Günter Kehr
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Württemberg Chamber Orchestra,  Mainz Chamber Orchestra
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  • 107.
    Bach: Brandenberg Concertos, Orchestral Suites, Etc / Goebel
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 471656 Release Date: 10/08/2002   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Wilbert Hazelzet,  Hendrik Bouman,  Jaap ter Linden,  Robert Hill  ... 
    Conductor:  Reinhard Goebel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Antiqua Cologne
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  • 108.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Rampe, La Stravaganza Hamburg
    Label: Virgin Classics Veritas   Catalog: 45255 Release Date: 09/10/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Siegbert Rampe
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Stravaganza Hamburg
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  • 109.
    Blue - Bach: Brandenburg Concertos 1-3, Etc / Pinnock, Et Al
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 471720 Release Date: 08/01/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Amanda Macnamara,  Richard Webb,  Jennifer Ward-Clarke,  Elizabeth Wilcock  ... 
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
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  • 110.
    Bach: Brandenburgische Konzerte No 1, 3 & 5 / Güttler, Et Al
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 1730 Release Date: 06/25/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Ludwig Güttler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Virtuosi Saxoniae
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  • 111.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concerti;  Mozart / Otto Klemperer
    Label: Vox Box Legends   Catalog: 7812 Release Date: 06/11/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pro musica
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  • 112.
    Trio - Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Etc / Marriner, Asmf
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 470934 Release Date: 06/11/2002   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  William Bennett,  John Birch,  Denis Vigay,  Kenneth Sillito  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
    CD: $23.99
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  • 113.
    Bach: The Complete Orchestral Works / Neville Marriner, Asmf
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 456377 Release Date: 05/14/2002   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  William Bennett,  Maurice Hasson,  Henryk Szeryng,  José Luis Garcia  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Raymond Leppard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields members
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  • 114.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Orchestral Suites / Karl Richter
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 463657 Release Date: 02/01/2002   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Gerhart Hetzel,  Karl Richter,  Aurèle Nicolet,  Ingo Sinnhoffer  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Richter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Bach Orchestra
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  • 115.
    Label: Raum Klang   Catalog: 2001 Release Date: 10/30/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Schelle,  Johann Sebastian Bach
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  • 116.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos 1-3, Siciliano / Warchal, Et Al
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 151015 Release Date: 08/31/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Bohdan Warchal
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Istropolitana
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  • 117.
    Concertos Vol 2 -bach: Brandenburg Concertos /Bach Collegium
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1151/2 Release Date: 07/24/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
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  • 118.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concerti 1-3
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550047 Release Date: 05/30/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Bohdan Warchal
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Istropolitana
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  • 119.
    Eloquence - Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No 1-2, Etc /I Musici
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 468109 Release Date: 04/10/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Severino Gazzelloni,  Maria Teresa Garatti,  Heinz Holliger,  Felix Ayo  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici
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  • 120.
    Johann Sebastian Bach: Six Brandenburg Concertos Bwv 1046-1051 Complete Edition
    Label: Tacet   Catalog: 101 Release Date: 12/23/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    CD: $21.49
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  • 121.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Etc / Goebel, Pinnock, Et Al
    Label: Dg Panorama   Catalog: 469103 Release Date: 09/26/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Simon Standage,  Trevor Pinnock,  Nicholas Kraemer,  Kenneth Gilbert  ... 
    Conductor:  Reinhard Goebel,  Trevor Pinnock
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Antiqua Cologne,  English Concert
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  • 122.
    Bach: Complete Orchestral Works / Müller-brühl, Et Al
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8508005 Release Date: 01/25/2000   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi
    Performer:  Anja M. Schmiel,  Stefan Schilli,  Hans-Martin Kothe,  Stephan Rapp  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmut Müller-Brühl
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Chamber Orchestra
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  • 123.
    Naxos Bach Edition 6 - Bach: Brandenburg Concertos I
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8554607 Release Date: 01/25/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Helmut Müller-Brühl
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Chamber Orchestra
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  • 124.
    Edition Bachakademie Vol 126 - Brandenburg Concertos
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 92126 Release Date: 10/19/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oregon Bach Festival Chamber Orchestra
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  • 125.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos Vol 1 / Gustav Leonhardt, Et Al
    Label: Sony Classical Essential Classics   Catalog: 61814 Release Date: 09/03/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt,  Wiel Peeters,  Wieland Kuijken,  Anthony Woodrow  ... 
    Conductor:  Gustav Leonhardt
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