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 Sonatas for Violin & Harpsichord / Pine, Vinikour
Release Date: 05/11/2018   Label: Cedille Records  
Catalog: 177   Number of Discs: 2
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J.S. Bach: Musikalisches Opfer / Suzuki, Bach Collegium Japan
Release Date: 10/09/2017   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 2151   Number of Discs: 1
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Circles: Piano Concertos by Glass & Bach / Dinnerstein, A Far Cry
Release Date: 05/18/2018   Label: Orange Mountain Music  
Catalog: 127  
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Platinum - Bach: The Six Suites / Paolo Pandolfo
Release Date: 09/25/2001   Label: Glossa  
Catalog: 30405   Number of Discs: 2
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Bach: St. John Passion / Bruggen, Orchestra of the 18th Century
Release Date: 04/26/2011   Label: Glossa  
Catalog: 921113   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Brandenburg Concerto no 3

Browse 1-25 of 160 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    The Brandenburg Duets / Bindman, Lin
    Label: Grand Piano   Catalog: 777 Release Date: 03/09/2018   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Eleonor Bindman,  Jenny Lin
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  • 2.
    Bach: Six Brandenburg Concertos / Dunedin Consort
    Label: Linn Records   Catalog: 430 Release Date: 02/23/2018   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  John Butt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dunedin Consort
    CD: $27.49
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  • 3.
    The Complete Bach Edition
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 567107 Release Date: 02/23/2018   Number of Discs: 153
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Max van Egmond,  Kurt Equiluz,  Paul Esswood,  Walter Gampert  ... 
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Gustav Leonhardt,  Ton Koopman,  Jaap Schröder  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus,  Chorus Viennensis,  Vienna Boys' Choir  ... 
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  • 4.
    Bach Triples / Cummings, Harmony Of Nations
    Label: Raum Klang   Catalog: 3007 Release Date: 02/02/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Laurence Cummings
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Harmony of Nations Baroque Orchestra
    CD: $19.99
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  • 5.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Concerto Koln [Vinyl]
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 0300997BC Release Date: 02/02/2018   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Cologne
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  • 6.
    Great Conductor - Kleiber, Solti, Bernstein & Von Karajan
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 744108 Release Date: 01/26/2018   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti,  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    DVD: $64.49
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  • 7.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Goebel, Berlin Baroque Soloists
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88985361112 Release Date: 01/05/2018   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Reinhard Goebel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Baroque Soloists
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  • 8.
    Les maitres du Baroque
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 372 Release Date: 11/03/2017   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Tomaso Albinoni,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Marc-Antoine Charpentier,  Jean-Baptiste Lully  ... 
    Performer:  Tomas Kral,  Daniel Elgersma,  Philippe Froeliger,  Lionel Meunier  ... 
    Conductor:  Chiara Banchini,  Lionel Meunier,  Raphaël Pichon,  Vincent Dumestre  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble 415,  Vox Luminis,  Café Zimmermann  ... 
    CD: $37.49
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  • 9.
    Baroque Gold: 100 Great Tracks
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4832158 Release Date: 06/30/2017   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Jean-Baptiste Lully,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Pachelbel  ... 
    Performer:  Nigel North,  Christopher Hirons,  Christophe Rousset,  Ottavio Dantone  ... 
    Conductor:  Reinhard Goebel,  Philip Pickett,  Christopher Hogwood,  John Eliot Gardiner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Antiqua Cologne,  New London Consort,  Academy of Ancient Music  ... 
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  • 10.
    Bach & Vivaldi for Mandolin / Frati, Mandolin Orchestra Mauro e Claudio Terroni
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 7787 Release Date: 04/28/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi
    Performer:  Dorina Frati,  Silvia Tenchini,  Grazia Maugeri,  Monica Baronio  ... 
    Conductor:  Dorina Frati
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mandolin Orchestra Mauro e Claudio Terroni
    CD: $18.99
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  • 11.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Mertin, Vienna Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: 4213 Release Date: 01/13/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Josef Mertin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concerthouse Orchestra
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  • 12.
    Charles Munch: The Complete RCA Album Collection
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 516979 Release Date: 10/28/2016   Number of Discs: 86
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Vincent D'Indy  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Artur Rubinstein,  Margaret Roggero,  Leslie Chabey  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Munch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Harvard Glee Club  ... 
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  • 13.
    Pinchas Zukerman: Complete Recordings on DG, Decca, & Philips
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002514302 Release Date: 07/22/2016   Number of Discs: 22
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Pinchas Zukerman,  Midori,  Daniel Barenboim,  Marc Neikrug  ... 
    Conductor:  Pinchas Zukerman,  Daniel Barenboim,  Charles Dutoit,  Pierre Boulez  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra,  St. Paul Chamber Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 14.
    Bach: The Brandenburg Concertos, Violin Concertos & Harpsichord Concertos
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88725463862 Release Date: 07/08/2016   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach
    Performer:  Bob van Asperen,  Anthony Woodrow,  Frans Brüggen,  Gustav Leonhardt  ... 
    Conductor:  Gustav Leonhardt,  Jeanne Lamon
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  • 15.
    Bach: Complete Concertos
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 95303 Release Date: 06/24/2016   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Erwin Wieringa,  Remy Baudet,  Frank De Bruine,  Teunis Van der Zwart  ... 
    Conductor:  Pieter-Jan Belder,  Burkhard Glaetzner,  Kurt Masur,  Donatas Katkus
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Amphion,  Amsterdam Bach Soloists,  Neues Bachisches Collegium Musicum Leipzig  ... 
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  • 16.
    Herbert von Karajan: Maestro for the Screen
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 737608 Release Date: 06/24/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    DVD: $29.99
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  • 17.
    Herbert von Karajan: Maestro for the Screen [Blu-ray]
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 737704 Release Date: 06/24/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 18.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Kallo, Cappela Savaria
    Label: Hungaroton   Catalog: 32786 Release Date: 05/13/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Zsolt Kalló
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Savaria
    CD: $34.99
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  • 19.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Orchestral Suites & Chamber Music / Goebel
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 002485602 Release Date: 05/13/2016   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Reinhard Goebel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Antiqua Cologne
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  • 20.
    Bach on Brass / German Brass
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300720 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  German Brass
    CD: $18.99
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  • 21.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Koch, Neumeyer Consort
    Label: Christophorus   Catalog: 77400 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Felix Koch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Neumeyer Consort
    CD: $24.99
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  • 22.
    Die Ludwig Guttler Edition / Virtuosi Saxoniae, Guttler
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300705 Release Date: 01/29/2016   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Johann Adolf Hasse,  Jan Dismas Zelenka,  Alessandro Scarlatti,  Johann David Heinichen  ... 
    Performer:  Egbert Junghanns,  Dagmar Schellenberger,  Axel Köhler,  Friedrich Kircheis  ... 
    Conductor:  Ludwig Güttler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Virtuosi Saxoniae,  Thüringen Academy Choir,  Vienna Concentus Vocalis  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 23.
    111: The Collector's Editions [111 CDs]
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002422702 Release Date: 12/11/2015   Number of Discs: 111
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Daniel Barenboim,  Lorin Maazel,  Franz Konwitschny  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Amadeus Quartet,  Paris Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $325.49
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  • 24.
    Adolf Busch & Busch Quartet: The Complete Warner Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 553027 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 16
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Rudolf Serkin,  Adolf Busch,  Hermann Busch,  Karl Doktor  ... 
    Conductor:  Adolf Busch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Busch Trio
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  • 25.
    Best of German Baroque: J.S. Bach
    Label: Tafelmusik Media   Catalog: 1028 Release Date: 10/30/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra
    CD: $12.99
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