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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: The Six French Suites / Sergey Schepkin
Release Date: 11/11/2014   Label: Steinway & Sons  
Catalog: 30046   Number of Discs: 2
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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: Mass in B Minor / Cohen, Arcangelo
Release Date: 11/11/2014   Label: Hyperion  
Catalog: 68051   Number of Discs: 2
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Bach: The Six Motets / Harry Christophers, The Sixteen
Release Date: 10/14/2014   Label: Helios  
Catalog: 55417   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach / Joshua Bell
Release Date: 09/30/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 308779   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Brandenburg Concerto no 3

Browse 101-125 of 181 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos No 1-4 / Diego Fasolis, Et Al
    Label: Arts Music   Catalog: 47715 Release Date: 03/13/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Diego Fasolis
    Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
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  • 102.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos 1-6 / Belder, Musica Amphion
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 93125 Release Date: 02/27/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Irmgard Schaller,  Sayuri Yamagata,  Albert Brüggen,  Pieter-Jan Belder  ... 
    Conductor:  Pieter-Jan Belder
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Amphion
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  • 103.
    Basics - Bach: Brandenburg Concertos No 1-3, Etc / Koch
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 8530 Release Date: 02/13/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Helmut Koch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Chamber Orchestra
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  • 104.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Vol. 1
    Label: American Bach Soloists   Catalog: 5637204460 Release Date: 01/01/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Jeffrey Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  American Bach Soloists
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  • 105.
    Ultimate Bach - The Essential Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000765902 Release Date: 11/14/2006   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  András Schiff,  Arthur Grumiaux,  Carlo Curley
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 106.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Etc / Bashmet, Et Al
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8557755 Release Date: 10/31/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Stéphane Réty,  Pierre Franck,  Christophe Gaugué,  Giorgio Paronuzzi  ... 
    Conductor:  Andrés Gabetta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swiss Baroque Soloists
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  • 107.
    Casals Festivals At Prades - 1953-62
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 1187 Release Date: 09/05/2006   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Pablo Casals,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Mieczyslaw Horszowski,  Christian Ferras  ... 
    Conductor:  Pablo Casals
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prades Festival Orchestra,  London Collegium Musicum,  Sándor Végh Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 108.
    Baby Got Bach / Lumiere String Quartet
    Label: Lumiere Records   Catalog: 5637381127 Release Date: 08/22/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Sato Moughalian
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lumiere String Quartet
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  • 109.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Goltz, Freiburger Barockorchester
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2050316 Release Date: 04/18/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Gottfried Von der Goltz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Freiburg Baroque Orchestra
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  • 110.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / De Vriend, Combattimento
    Label: Challenge   Catalog: 72149 Release Date: 04/11/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Jan Willem de Vriend
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Combattimento Consort
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  • 111.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Warchal, Capella Istropolitana
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8520007 Release Date: 03/01/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Bohdan Warchal
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Istropolitana
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  • 112.
    Cello, Celli! - Bach, Brubeck / Parisot, Yale Cellos
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8557816 Release Date: 01/17/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Dave Brubeck
    Conductor:  Aldo Parisot
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Yale Cellos
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  • 113.
    Weekend Classics - A Bach Weekend
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000577102 Release Date: 01/10/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff
    Conductor:  Karl Richter,  Arthur Fiedler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Bach Orchestra,  Boston Pops,  Sweden Orpheus Chamber Ensemble
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  • 114.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Etc / Concerto Italiano, Et Al
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 30412 Release Date: 10/18/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Rinaldo Alessandrini
    Conductor:  Rinaldo Alessandrini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Italiano
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  • 115.
    Furtwängler - Die Salzburger Orchesterkonzerte 1949 - 1954
    Label: Orfeo D'or   Catalog: 409048 Release Date: 05/31/2005   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Igor Stravinsky,  Anton Bruckner,  Paul Hindemith  ... 
    Performer:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Josef Greindl,  Sieglinde Wagner,  Irmgard Seefried  ... 
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus
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  • 116.
    Basically Bach
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 74656 Release Date: 04/05/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Hilary Hahn,  Glenn Gould,  E. Power Biggs,  William Bennett  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  Pablo Casals,  Raymond Leppard,  Richard Kapp  ... 
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  • 117.
    A Baroque Festival
    Label: Classical Heritage   Catalog: 5869 Release Date: 09/21/2004   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Henry Purcell  ... 
    Performer:  Philip Brunelle,  Christiane Jaccottet,  Carlo Curley,  Wolfgang Rübsam  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bamberg Philharmonic Orchestra,  St. Louis Brass Quintet,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 118.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Etc / Munchinger, Et Al
    Label: Pearl   Catalog: 216 Release Date: 07/27/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Suzanne Danco
    Conductor:  Karl Münchinger
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
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  • 119.
    Bach: Concerts Avec Plusieurs Instruments Vol 2 / Cafe Zimmermann
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 48 Release Date: 07/20/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Antoine Torunczyk,  Amandine Beyer,  Pablo Valetti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Café Zimmermann
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  • 120.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos No 1-4 / Marriner, ASMF
    Label: Emi Classics Encore   Catalog: 85792 Release Date: 07/13/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  George Malcolm,  Catherine Latham,  Iona Brown,  John Constable  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 121.
    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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  • 122.
    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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  • 123.
    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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  • 124.
    Charpentier: Musique Sacree, Bach, Handel, Telemann / Goebel, Musica Antiqua Koln
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 474507 Release Date: 10/01/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Georg Christoph Bach,  Johann Christian Bach,  Georg Philipp Telemann  ... 
    Performer:  Stephen Varcoe,  Hein Meens,  Paul Elliott,  Anne Sofie von Otter  ... 
    Conductor:  Reinhard Goebel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Antiqua Cologne,  Musica Antiqua Cologne members
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  • 125.
    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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