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 Well-Tempered Clavier I / Aimard
Release Date: 08/19/2014   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 002119902   Number of Discs: 2
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Baroque Collection - Handel, Vivaldi, Bach, Pachelbel, Et Al
Release Date: 09/29/1992   Label: Emi Classics  
Catalog: 67425   Number of Discs: 2
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Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Violin Concertos / Rees, Scottish Ensemble
Release Date: 05/05/1998   Label: Virgin Classics Veritas  
Catalog: 61403   Number of Discs: 2
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Bach: Orchestral Suites / Pinnock
Release Date: 05/08/2007   Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)  
Catalog: 000872302   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Partitas / Igor Levit
Release Date: 08/25/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 307630   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Brandenburg Concerto no 3

Browse 76-100 of 185 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    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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  • 77.
    Vivaldi: Four Seasons; Pachelbel, Bach / Carney, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks   Catalog: 28090 Release Date: 03/10/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Pachelbel,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Jonathan Carney
    Conductor:  Jonathan Carney
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 78.
    Gemini - Bach: Brandenburg & Violin Concertos / Menuhin, Bath Festival Orchestra
    Label: Emi 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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  • 79.
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4777531 Release Date: 11/10/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francesco Maria Veracini,  Johann Pachelbel,  Michel Corrette,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Antiqua Cologne
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  • 80.
    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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  • 81.
    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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  • 82.
    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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  • 83.
    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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  • 84.
    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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  • 85.
    Greatest Works - Bach / Koch, Schreier, Sanderling, Biggs, Et Al
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 184252 Release Date: 08/12/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Herbert Collum,  Thomas Zehetmair,  Hans Pischner,  E. Power Biggs  ... 
    Conductor:  Thomas Zehetmair,  Kurt Sanderling,  Helmut Koch,  Peter Schreier  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Bach Soloists,  Berlin Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 86.
    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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  • 87.
    Basics 25-cd Boxset
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 186002 Release Date: 07/08/2008   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Georges Bizet,  Johannes Brahms,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
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  • 88.
    Label: Brilliant (Netherlands)   Catalog: 2193125 Release Date: 06/17/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Pieter-Jan Belder
    Conductor:  Pieter-Jan Belder
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Amphion
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  • 89.
    Beethoven: Symphony No. 7; Bach: Brandenburg Coincerto No. 3; Ravel: Le Tombeau De Couperin
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: 799453 Release Date: 06/03/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Maurice Ravel
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
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  • 90.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos /  Stryncl, Musica Florea
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: 3942 Release Date: 05/27/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Marek Stryncl
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Florea
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  • 91.
    Bach: Brandenberg Concertos / Amsterdam Guitar Trio
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 6546 Release Date: 03/12/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Guitar Trio
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  • 92.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos; The 1953 Aldburgh Festival Opening Concert / Britten
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4429521 Release Date: 02/11/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Various,  Thomas Augustine Arne
    Performer:  Anthony Randall,  Peter Graeme,  Ifor James,  Emanuel Hurwitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Benjamin Britten,  Imogen Holst
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Aldeburgh Festival Orchestra,  Aldeburgh Festival Chorus
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  • 93.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Pinnock, European Brandenburg Ensemble
    Label: Avie   Catalog: 2119 Release Date: 12/18/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Catherine Finnis,  Trevor Pinnock,  Catherine Jones,  Jonathan Manson  ... 
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  European Brandenburg Ensemble
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  • 94.
    The Essential Bach
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2056768 Release Date: 11/20/2007   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Joanna MacGregor,  Andrei Gavrilov,  Ruth Holton,  Matthias Rexhorth  ... 
    Conductor:  Georg Christoph Biller,  Gottfried Von der Goltz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Thomaner Choir,  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Freiburg Baroque Orchestra  ... 
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  • 95.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Nos. 1-6
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 4698123 Release Date: 11/12/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Giovanni Antonini
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  • 96.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos No 1-6, Etc / Marriner, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 955 Release Date: 10/02/2007   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 97.
    Bach: Die Brandenburgischen Konzerte, Etc. / Schreier
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 434918 Release Date: 09/17/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Simon Preston,  Irena Grafenauer,  Hĺkan Hardenberger,  Maurice Bourgue
    Conductor:  Peter Schreier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  C.P.E. Bach Chamber Orchestra
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  • 98.
    Orchestra! / Georg Solti, Dudley Moore
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 433208 Release Date: 08/20/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Witold Lutoslawski,  Igor Stravinsky,  Béla Bartók  ... 
    Performer:  Dudley Moore,  Sir Georg Solti
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra
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  • 99.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos Nos 1-4 / Baumgartner
    Label: Rca Silver Seal   Catalog: 60475 Release Date: 07/09/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Rudolf Baumgartner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lucerne Festival Strings
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  • 100.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Chamber Orch Of Europe
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 431660 Release Date: 04/24/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe
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