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 / 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: The Art Of Fugue / Angela Hewitt
Release Date: 10/14/2014   Label: Hyperion  
Catalog: 67980   Number of Discs: 1
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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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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 4

Browse 126-149 of 149 Available Recordings
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  • 126.
    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
    CD: $32.99
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  • 127.
    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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  • 128.
    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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  • 129.
    Bach: Famous Works
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 553220 Release Date: 01/04/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Hae-won Chang,  Wolfgang Rübsam
    Conductor:  Jaroslav Dvorák,  István Bogár,  Bohdan Warchal,  Robert Stankovsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Istropolitana,  Budapest Strauss Ensemble,  Camerata Cassovia
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  • 130.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos No 4, 5, 6 / Zukerman, Los Angeles Philharmonic Members
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 450031 Release Date: 12/21/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Pinchas Zukerman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Philharmonic members
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  • 131.
    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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  • 132.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Jascha Horenstein
    Label: Vox Box Legends   Catalog: 5519 Release Date: 09/26/1995   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Jascha Horenstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Chamber Orchestra
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  • 133.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos No 4, 5, 6 / Faerber
    Label: Intercord Classical Creations   Catalog: 820503 Release Date: 05/23/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Martin Galling,  Gerhard Braun,  Hartmut Strebel,  Suzanne Lautenbacher  ... 
    Conductor:  Jörg Faerber
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn
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  • 134.
    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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  • 135.
    Casals Edition - Bach: The Three Gamba Sonatas, Brandenburg No 4
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 66572 Release Date: 02/21/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Paul Baumgartner,  Pablo Casals
    Conductor:  Pablo Casals
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prades Festival Orchestra
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  • 136.
    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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  • 137.
    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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  • 138.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos 3, 4 & 6
    Label: Sony Classical Infinity Digital   Catalog: 57216 Release Date: 02/08/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Alexander Titov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Classic Music Studio Orchestra
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  • 139.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Violin Concertos / I Musici
    Label: Philips Duo   Catalog: 438317 Release Date: 08/10/1993   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Felix Ayo,  Roberto Michelucci
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici
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  • 140.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos No 4, 5 & 6 / Pearlman
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80354 Release Date: 05/25/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Karen Kaderavek,  Daniel Stepner,  Marilyn McDonald,  Martin Pearlman  ... 
    Conductor:  Martin Pearlman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Baroque
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  • 141.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Harnoncourt, Concentus Musicus
    Label: Teldec Das Alte Werk   Catalog: 77611 Release Date: 03/09/1993   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
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  • 142.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Hogwood
    Label: L'oiseau Lyre   Catalog: 414187 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
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  • 143.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos 4-6 / Pinnock, English Concert
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 410501 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
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  • 144.
    Bach: The Brandenburg Concertos Nos 4, 5 & 6 / Marriner
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 400077 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  George Malcolm,  Jean-Pierre Rampal,  Henryk Szeryng,  Michala Petri  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 145.
    Marlboro Fest 40th Anniversary- Bach: Brandenburg Cti 4-6
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 46254 Release Date: 10/10/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Rudolf Serkin
    Conductor:  Pablo Casals
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marlboro Festival Orchestra
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  • 146.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Concertos BWV 1055 & 1060 / Karl Richter
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 427143 Release Date: 09/01/1989   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Edgar Shann,  Otto Büchner,  Manfred Clement
    Conductor:  Karl Richter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Bach Orchestra
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  • 147.
    Bach: 6 Brandenburg Concertos, 4 Suites / Pinnock, Et Al
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 423492 Release Date: 05/09/1989   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
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  • 148.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos Nos 4-6 / Bohdan Warchal
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550048 Release Date: 02/05/1988   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Daniela Ruso,  Milan Brunner,  Ewald Danel,  Gabriela Krcková  ... 
    Conductor:  Bohdan Warchal
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Istropolitana
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  • 149.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Goebel, Musica Antiqua Köln
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 423116 Release Date: 11/04/1987   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Sabine Bauer,  Reinhard Goebel,  Michael Schneider,  Friedemann Immer  ... 
    Conductor:  Reinhard Goebel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Antiqua Cologne
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