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 / Joshua Bell
Release Date: 09/30/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 308779   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: St. John Passion / Kozena, Padmore, Rattle
Release Date: 09/30/2014   Label: Berlin Philharmonic  
Catalog: 140031   Number of Discs: 3
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Bach: Orchestral Works & Concertos / Kuijken, La Petite Bande [5-CD Set]
Release Date: 03/25/2014   Label: Dhm Deutsche Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 7683852   Number of Discs: 5
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Glenn Gould Plays Bach
Release Date: 06/12/2012   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 683932   Number of Discs: 6
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Work: Brandenburg Concerto no 1

Browse 51-75 of 160 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1- 6 / Savall, Le Concert Des Nations
    Label: Alia Vox   Catalog: 9871 Release Date: 06/08/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Jordi Savall
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert des Nations
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  • 52.
    Over The Rainbow & Bach Again
    Label: Longhorn Music   Catalog: 2010002 Release Date: 05/25/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Randall Snyder,  Morten Lauridsen  ... 
    Performer:  Harvey Pittel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tex Sax
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  • 53.
    Adagio - The Ultimate Collection Vol 2
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578062-63 Release Date: 03/30/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Benjamin Godard,  Carl Stamitz,  Pierre Rode,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Chloë Hanslip,  Kálmán Berkes,  Friedemann Eichhorn,  Hae-won Chang  ... 
    Conductor:  Kirk Trevor,  Nicolás Pasquet,  Bohdan Warchal,  Barry Wordsworth  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kosice Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra,  Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia,  Southwest German Radio Orchestra Kaiserslautern  ... 
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  • 54.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Chailly, Gewandhausorchester
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001392302 Release Date: 02/09/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
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  • 55.
    Basics - The Basic Library [25 CDs]
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 149572 Release Date: 11/10/2009   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  Karl Schutte,  Günter Schaffrath,  Alfred Tolksdorf,  Heinz Wappler  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt,  Otmar Suitner,  Siegfried Kurz,  Kurt Masur  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 56.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Harnoncourt, Schreier, Holl
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001347009 Release Date: 10/27/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Peter Schreier,  Robert Holl,  Janet Perry
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
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  • 57.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1-6 / Harnoncourt, Vienna Concentus Musicus
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 4687080 Release Date: 10/26/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
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  • 58.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / John Eliot Gardiner, English Baroque Soloists
    Label: Soli Deo Gloria Records   Catalog: 707 Release Date: 10/13/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists
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  • 59.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Orchestral Suites / Suzuki
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1721 Release Date: 09/29/2009   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
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  • 60.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos Nos 1-4 / Gerard Schwarz
    Label: Emi Seraphim   Catalog: 69015 Release Date: 07/22/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
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  • 61.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos 1-3 / Richter, Munich Bach Orchestra
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 463011 Release Date: 07/06/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Manfred Clement,  Walter Forchert,  Gerhart Hetzel,  Ruben Gonzáles
    Conductor:  Karl Richter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Bach Orchestra
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  • 62.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Munch, BSO
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 38422 Release Date: 05/22/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Charles Munch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 63.
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 93236 Release Date: 05/05/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Frank De Bruine,  Erwin Wieringa,  Remy Baudet,  Pieter-Jan Belder  ... 
    Conductor:  Pieter-Jan Belder
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  • 64.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos No 1, 2 & 3 / Belder, Baudet, Musica Amphion
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 93236 Release Date: 05/05/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Pieter-Jan Belder,  Remy Baudet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Amphion
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  • 65.
    Bach: Brandeburg Concertos, Suites / Baumgartner
    Label: Eurodisc   Catalog: 69219 Release Date: 03/17/2009   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Rudolf Baumgartner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lucerne Festival Strings
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  • 66.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Pickett, New London Consort
    Label: L'oiseau Lyre   Catalog: 440675 Release Date: 03/17/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  David Roblou,  Daniel Yeadon,  David Watkin,  Richard Tunnicliffe  ... 
    Conductor:  Philip Pickett
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New London Consort
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  • 67.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Egarr, Academy Of Ancient Music
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 807461 Release Date: 03/10/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Richard Egarr
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
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  • 68.
    Gemini - Bach: Brandenburg & Violin Concertos / Menuhin, Bath Festival Orchestra
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 17617 Release Date: 11/11/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Janet Craxton,  Christopher Taylor,  Dennis Clift  ... 
    Conductor:  Yehudi Menuhin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bath Festival Orchestra
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  • 69.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos 1-6 / Abbado, Orchestra Mozart
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2056738 Release Date: 10/28/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Giuliano Carmignola
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra Mozart
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  • 70.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos 1-6 / Abbado, Orchestra Mozart [Blu-ray]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 205673 Release Date: 10/28/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Giuliano Carmignola
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra Mozart
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  • 71.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Orchestral Suites / Busch
    Label: Emi Great Recordings Of The Century   Catalog: 12970 Release Date: 10/14/2008   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Marcel Moyse,  Rudolf Serkin,  Adolf Busch,  Aubrey Brain
    Conductor:  Adolf Busch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Busch Chamber Players
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  • 72.
    Baroque Orchestral Masterpieces
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98533 Release Date: 09/19/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  George Frideric Handel,  Christoph Förster,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Lajos Lencsés,  Pierre Kremer
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling,  Iona Brown,  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble La Follia,  Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 73.
    Bach J.s: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1 - 3
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 457889 Release Date: 08/26/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Karlheinz Zoeller,  Adolf Scherbaum,  Lothar Koch,  Michel Schwalbé  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 74.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos 1-6 / Pople, London Festival
    Label: Arte Nova   Catalog: 340310 Release Date: 08/12/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Ross Pople
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Festival Orchestra
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  • 75.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos 1-3, Suite 4 / Koch, Berlin Co
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 1420 Release Date: 07/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
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