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: 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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Bach: Lutheran Masses / Rilling
Release Date: 05/27/2008   Label: Profil  
Catalog: 7027   Number of Discs: 2
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Bach Transcriptions / Slatkin, BBC PO
Release Date: 08/22/2000   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 9835   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Brandenburg Concerto no 4

Browse 51-75 of 158 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 93987 Release Date: 02/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Saskia Coolen,  Remy Baudet,  Pieter-Jan Belder,  Mieneke [Viola da Gamba] van der Velden  ... 
    Conductor:  Pieter-Jan Belder
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Amphion
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  • 52.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Harnoncourt, Schreier, Holl
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001347009 Release Date: 10/27/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Peter Schreier,  Robert Holl,  Janet Perry
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
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  • 53.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1-6 / Harnoncourt, Vienna Concentus Musicus
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 4687080 Release Date: 10/26/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
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  • 54.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / John Eliot Gardiner, English Baroque Soloists
    Label: Soli Deo Gloria Records   Catalog: 707 Release Date: 10/13/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists
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  • 55.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Orchestral Suites / Suzuki
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1721 Release Date: 09/29/2009   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
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  • 56.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos Nos 1-4 / Gerard Schwarz
    Label: Emi Seraphim   Catalog: 69015 Release Date: 07/22/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
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  • 57.
    The Original Sound Volume 2 / Christopher Hogwood
    Label: L'oiseau Lyre   Catalog: 443267 Release Date: 06/05/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Thomas Augustine Arne,  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Jean-Féry Rebel,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Stephen Preston,  Clare Shanks,  Monica Huggett,  Christopher Hogwood  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Winchester College Chapel Choir,  Winchester Cathedral Choir
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  • 58.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Munch, BSO
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 38422 Release Date: 05/22/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Charles Munch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 59.
    Juwelen Der Klassik - Vivaldi, Bach, Beethoven, Etc / Rilling, Mackerras, Marriner, Et Al
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98537 Release Date: 04/14/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Kathleen Lenski,  Dmitri Sitkovetsky,  Ivan Moravec
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  Stuttgart Bach Collegium,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 60.
    Bach: Brandeburg Concertos, Suites / Baumgartner
    Label: Eurodisc   Catalog: 69219 Release Date: 03/17/2009   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Rudolf Baumgartner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lucerne Festival Strings
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  • 61.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Pickett, New London Consort
    Label: L'oiseau Lyre   Catalog: 440675 Release Date: 03/17/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  David Roblou,  Daniel Yeadon,  David Watkin,  Richard Tunnicliffe  ... 
    Conductor:  Philip Pickett
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New London Consort
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  • 62.
    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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  • 63.
    Virtuosi In Concert Vol 3 / Guttler, Virtuosi Saxoniae
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 17732 Release Date: 12/04/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Wilhelm Hertel,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Johann Heinrich Schmelzer  ... 
    Conductor:  Ludwig Güttler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Virtuosi Saxoniae
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  • 64.
    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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  • 65.
    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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  • 66.
    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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  • 67.
    Baroque Orchestral Masterpieces
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98533 Release Date: 09/19/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  George Frideric Handel,  Christoph Förster,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Lajos Lencsés,  Pierre Kremer
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling,  Iona Brown,  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble La Follia,  Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 68.
    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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  • 69.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos 4-6 / Koch, Berlin Co
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 1421 Release Date: 07/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
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  • 70.
    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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  • 71.
    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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  • 72.
    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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  • 73.
    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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  • 74.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concerti, Orchestral Suites / Busch, Busch Chamber Players
    Label: Emi Classics Références   Catalog: 64047 Release Date: 12/10/2007   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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  • 75.
    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  ... 
    DVD: $39.99
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