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: Partitas / Igor Levit
Release Date: 08/25/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 307630   Number of Discs: 2
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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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Glenn Gould Plays Bach
Release Date: 06/12/2012   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 683932   Number of Discs: 6
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Bach: Toccata & Fugue; Thalben-Ball, Boellmann / James Parsons
Release Date: 10/12/2010   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28580   Number of Discs: 1
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Vivaldi: Four Seasons; Pachelbel, Bach / Carney, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Release Date: 03/10/2009   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28090   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Brandenburg Concerto no 2

Browse 151-175 of 187 Available Recordings
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  • 151.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos 1-7/ Cambridge Baroque Camerata
    Label: Intim Musik   Catalog: 55/56 Release Date: 06/01/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Jonathan Hellyer Jones
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Baroque Camerata
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  • 152.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos No 1-4 / Wilson, Schwarz, Et Al
    Label: Emi Seraphim   Catalog: 73281 Release Date: 04/20/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Ransom Wilson
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
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  • 153.
    The Greatest Classical Hits Of Bach
    Label: Platinum Disc   Catalog: 1834 Release Date: 02/23/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Johann Sebastian Bach
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  • 154.
    Bach J.s: Suite For Orchestra Bwv 1067/Telemen: Suite  In A Minor
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 157130 Release Date: 11/10/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Michala Petri,  Raphael Alpermann,  Rainer Kussmaul,  Reinhold Friedrich  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Baroque Soloists
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  • 155.
    Label: Intim Musik   Catalog: 55 Release Date: 09/08/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Baroque Camerata
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  • 156.
    Marcello, Cimarosa, Bach, Et Al / Pecha, Paukert, Janacek Co
    Label: Crystal   Catalog: 721 Release Date: 07/21/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Domenico Cimarosa,  Joseph Rheinberger,  Hermann Schroeder,  Jan Koetsier  ... 
    Performer:  Pamela Pecha,  Karel Paukert,  Marek Zvolánek,  Bohuslav Matousek  ... 
    Conductor:  Petr Vronsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Janácek Chamber Orchestra
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  • 157.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Violin Concertos / Rees, Scottish Ensemble
    Label: Virgin Classics Veritas   Catalog: 61403 Release Date: 05/05/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Jonathan Rees
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Ensemble
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  • 158.
    Tex Sax
    Label: Mark Records   Catalog: 2280 Release Date: 01/01/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Modest Mussorgsky
    Performer:  Harvey Pittel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tex Sax
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  • 159.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Etc / Christopher Hogwood
    Label: L'oiseau Lyre   Catalog: 455700 Release Date: 10/21/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Christopher Hirons,  Catherine Mackintosh,  Monica Huggett,  Christopher Hogwood  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
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  • 160.
    Bach: The Brandenburg Concertos / Leonhardt, Bruggen, Kuijken, Bylsma
    Label: Sony Classical Seon   Catalog: 62946 Release Date: 06/03/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Janneke Van der Meer,  Lucy Van Dael,  Wiel Peeters,  Marleen Thiers  ... 
    Conductor:  Gustav Leonhardt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leonhardt Consort
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  • 161.
    The Best Of Baroque
    Label: Philips Duo   Catalog: 456049 Release Date: 02/14/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johann Pachelbel  ... 
    Performer:  Jean-Claude Hermanjat,  Ursula Holliger,  André Pépin,  Szymon Goldberg  ... 
    Conductor:  Szymon Goldberg,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici,  Netherlands Chamber Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
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  • 162.
    Splendor And The Brass - Festive Music Of The Baroque
    Label: Summit Records   Catalog: 189 Release Date: 11/19/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Praetorius,  George Frideric Handel,  Jan Dismas Zelenka,  Samuel Scheidt  ... 
    Performer:  James Thompson,  Michael Sachs,  Nick Norton,  Anthony Plog  ... 
    Conductor:  Thomas Rolston
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlantic Brass Quintet,  Summit Brass,  St. Louis Brass Quintet  ... 
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  • 163.
    Bach: Brandenburgische Konzerte / Piano Duo Trenkner-speidel
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm) Gold   Catalog: 3300635 Release Date: 09/24/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Sontraud Speidel,  Evelinde Trenkner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Trenkner-Speidel Duo
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  • 164.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Brandenburg Consort
    Label: Hyperion Dyad   Catalog: 22001 Release Date: 09/17/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Roy Goodman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brandenburg Consort
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  • 165.
    Bach: The Six Brandenburg Concertos / Cms Of Lincoln Center
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3185 Release Date: 08/22/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Ani Kavafian,  Todd Phillips,  Paul Neubauer,  Steven Tenenbom  ... 
    Conductor:  David Shifrin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
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  • 166.
    Bach: The Brandenburg Concertos, Etc / Karajan, Berlin Po
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 453001 Release Date: 08/15/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Karlheinz Zöller,  Michel Schwalbé,  Edith Picht-Axenfeld,  Matthias Rutters  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 167.
    In Gabriel's Garden / Wynton Marsalis, Newman, English Co
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 66244 Release Date: 05/14/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Stanley,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Giuseppe Torelli,  Marc-Antoine Charpentier  ... 
    Performer:  Wynton Marsalis,  Ian Watson,  Charles Tunnell,  Neil Black  ... 
    Conductor:  Anthony Newman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
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  • 168.
    Bach: Six Brandenburg Concertos / Lamon, Tafelmusik
    Label: Sony Classical Vivarte Series   Catalog: 66289 Release Date: 10/17/1995   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik
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  • 169.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos No 1, 2, 3 / Faerber
    Label: Intercord Classical Creations   Catalog: 820502 Release Date: 05/23/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Willy Schnell,  Suzanne Lautenbacher,  Martin Galling,  Peter Buck  ... 
    Conductor:  Jörg Faerber
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn
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  • 170.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos 1-6 / Britten, English Co
    Label: London/Decca Double Decker   Catalog: 443847 Release Date: 05/16/1995   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  William Bennett,  Carmel Kaine,  Tess Miller,  Emanuel Hurwitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Benjamin Britten,  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 171.
    Bach: Brandenburgische Konzerte 1, 2, 3, Etc / Goebel, Köln
    Label: Dg Archiv Masters   Catalog: 447287 Release Date: 04/03/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Reinhard Goebel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Antiqua Cologne
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  • 172.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Kapp, Philharmonia Virtuosi
    Label: Ess.a.y Recordings   Catalog: 1037/38 Release Date: 08/23/1994   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Richard Kapp
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Virtuosi
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  • 173.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos No 1-3 / Martin Pearlman
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80368 Release Date: 08/23/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Martin Pearlman,  Peter Sykes
    Conductor:  Martin Pearlman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Baroque
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  • 174.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Kapp, Philharmonia Virtuosi
    Label: Sony Classical Essential Classics   Catalog: 53525 Release Date: 06/14/1994   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Richard Kapp
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Virtuosi
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  • 175.
    Classics - Virtuoso Trumpet / Smedvig, Ling, Scottish Co
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80227 Release Date: 11/16/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Leopold Mozart,  Georg Philipp Telemann
    Performer:  Rolf Smedvig
    Conductor:  Jahja Ling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
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