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: Transcriptions of Concertos by Vivaldi & Marcello / Sophie Yates
Release Date: 05/28/2013   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 796   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Secular Cantatas Vol  4 - Academic Cantatas  / Suzuki, Bach Collegium Japan
Release Date: 07/08/2014   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 2001   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Lutheran Masses / Rilling
Release Date: 05/27/2008   Label: Profil  
Catalog: 7027   Number of Discs: 2
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Bach: Original Works And Transcriptions By Franz Liszt / Schmidt
Release Date: 05/31/2011   Label: Profil  
Catalog: 11025   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Six Trio Sonatas / Tempesta di Mare Chamber Players
Release Date: 06/24/2014   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 803   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Brandenburg Concerto no 4

Browse 26-50 of 159 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos /  Lamon, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra
    Label: Tafelmusik Media   Catalog: 1004 Release Date: 03/27/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik
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  • 27.
    The Complete Bach Edition
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 664202 Release Date: 03/27/2012   Number of Discs: 154
    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  ... 
    CD: $398.99
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  • 28.
    J.s. Bach: Brandenburg Concertos No. 1-6
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: ARPCD0269 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
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  • 29.
    Label: Pan Classics   Catalog: 10277 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Gunar Letzbor
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ars Antiqua Austria
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  • 30.
    Bach & Vivaldi / Rinaldo Alessandrini, Concerto Italiano [6-CD Set]
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 30530 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Benedetto Marcello,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Alessandro Marcello
    Performer:  Rinaldo Alessandrini,  Riccardo Minasi,  Luca Peverini,  Antonio De Secondi  ... 
    Conductor:  Rinaldo Alessandrini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Italiano
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  • 31.
    Bach: 6 Brandenburg Concertos, Oboe Concertos / Boyd, Chamber Orchestra Of Europe
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4779559 Release Date: 10/18/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Douglas Boyd
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe
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  • 32.
    Baroque - Bach, Blow, Charpentier, Corelli, Handel, Monteverdi
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 2908510 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Marc-Antoine Charpentier,  Jacques Philidor,  Claudio Monteverdi  ... 
    Performer:  Marie-Ange Petit,  Agnès Mellon,  Guillemette Laurens,  Gregory Reinhart  ... 
    Conductor:  William Christie,  Nicholas McGegan,  Philippe Herreweghe,  Chiara Banchini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy for Ancient Music Berlin,  Les Arts Florissants,  Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra  ... 
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  • 33.
    Bach: Orchestral Works Complete
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 93578 Release Date: 08/30/2011   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Remy Baudet,  Theunis Van der Zwart,  Erwin Wieringa,  Pieter-Jan Belder  ... 
    Conductor:  Pieter-Jan Belder
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Amphion,  La Stravaganza Cologne,  Camerata Antonio Lucio  ... 
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  • 34.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos; Triple Concertos / Schreier, CPE Bach Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Newton Classics   Catalog: 8802075 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Maurice Bourgue,  Håkan Hardenberger,  Irena Grafenauer,  Simon Preston
    Conductor:  Peter Schreier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  C.P.E. Bach Chamber Orchestra
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  • 35.
    Il Giardino Armonico
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 632642 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi,  Dario Castello,  Ottavio Dantone,  Giovanni Battista Spadi  ... 
    Performer:  Ottavio Dantone,  Enrico Onofri,  Luca Pianca
    Conductor:  Giovanni Antonini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Il Giardino Armonico,  Innsbruck Trumpet Consort
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  • 36.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Paillard, Paillard Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 49184 Release Date: 05/06/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Jean-François Paillard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paillard Chamber Orchestra
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  • 37.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Orchestral Suites, Concertos / Pinnock [8-CD Collector's Edition]
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 001538502 Release Date: 04/19/2011   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Trevor Pinnock,  Lisa Beznosiuk,  Simon Standage,  Rachel Beckett  ... 
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
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  • 38.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos No 4-6 / Karl Richter, Munich Bach Orchestra
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 463012 Release Date: 03/24/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Otto Büchner,  Edgar Shann
    Conductor:  Karl Richter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Bach Orchestra
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  • 39.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos 1-6 / Abbado, Carmignola, Orchestra Mozart
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001530302 Release Date: 03/15/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Giuliano Carmignola
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra Mozart
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  • 40.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Guttler, Virtuosi Saxoniae
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300113 Release Date: 01/11/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Friedrich Kircheis,  Eckart Haupt,  Roland Straumer,  Uta Hoffmann  ... 
    Conductor:  Ludwig Güttler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Virtuosi Saxoniae
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  • 41.
    Bach: Integrale Concerts Plusieurs / Cafe Zimmerman
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 811 Release Date: 01/10/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Café Zimmermann
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  • 42.
    Bach: Concertos, Brandenburg Concertos / London Conchord Ensemble
    Label: Champs Hill Records   Catalog: 14 Release Date: 11/16/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Florian Uhlig
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Conchord Ensemble
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  • 43.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Sigiswald Kuijken, La Petite Bande
    Label: Accent   Catalog: 24224 Release Date: 09/28/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Sigiswald Kuijken
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Petite Bande
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  • 44.
    Bach Edition - Complete Works Of J. S. Bach
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94050 Release Date: 09/14/2010   Number of Discs: 157
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Christine Schornsheim,  Dmitri Sitkovetsky,  Menno Van Delft,  Mark Lubotsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Pieter-Jan Belder,  Robert Haydon Clark,  Burkhard Glaetzner,  Peter Schreier  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Amphion,  Consort of London,  Leipzig New Bach Collegium Musicum  ... 
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  • 45.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1- 6 / Sorrell, Apollo's Fire
    Label: Avie   Catalog: 2207 Release Date: 07/13/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Jeannette Sorrell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Apollo's Fire
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  • 46.
    50 Best Bach
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 57496 Release Date: 06/29/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Richard Boothby,  Peter Kooy,  Christoph Prégardien,  Catherine Patriasz  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Philip Ledger,  Wolfgang Gönnenwein,  Andrew Parrott,  Philippe Herreweghe  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Consortium Musicum,  Taverner Players,  La Petite Bande  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 47.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1- 6 / Savall, Le Concert Des Nations
    Label: Alia Vox   Catalog: 9871 Release Date: 06/08/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Jordi Savall
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert des Nations
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  • 48.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos No 4, 5, 6 / Belder, Musica Amphion
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 93987 Release Date: 03/30/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Pieter-Jan Belder
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Amphion
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  • 49.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Parrott, Taverner Players
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 49806 Release Date: 02/11/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Paul Goodwin,  David Staff,  John Holloway
    Conductor:  Andrew Parrott
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Taverner Players
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  • 50.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Chailly, Gewandhausorchester
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001392302 Release Date: 02/09/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
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