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
Faure: Requiem; Bach / Short, Tenebrae
Release Date: 11/13/2012   Label: Lso Live  
Catalog: 728   Number of Discs: 1
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Helene Grimaud Piano Recital - Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Rachimaninov
Release Date: 10/29/2013   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 4891   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Toccata & Fugue, Brandenburg Concerto No 4; Air On A G String / Carney
Release Date: 06/14/2011   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28900   Number of Discs: 1
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Vivaldi: Four Seasons; Pachelbel, Bach / Carney, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Release Date: 03/10/2009   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28090   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Inventions & Sinfonias / Simone Dinnerstein
Release Date: 01/21/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 300910   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Brandenburg Concerto no 4

Browse 76-100 of 159 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    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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  • 77.
    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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  • 78.
    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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  • 79.
    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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  • 80.
    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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  • 81.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos No 4-6 / Helmut Koch, Et Al
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 8531 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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  • 82.
    Best Bach 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 83765 Release Date: 02/06/2007   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  J. F. Ludwig Thiele
    Performer:  Lionel Rogg,  Monica Huggett,  Gustav Leonhardt,  Alison Bury  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Philip Ledger,  Wolfgang Gönnenwein,  Philippe Herreweghe,  Andrew Parrott  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment,  English Chamber Orchestra,  South German Madrigal Choir Stuttgart  ... 
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  • 83.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Vol. 2
    Label: American Bach Soloists   Catalog: 5637204461 Release Date: 01/01/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Jeffrey [Tenor Vocals/Conductor] Thomas,  Jonathan Dimmock,  John Butt,  Phebe Craig
    Conductor:  Jeffrey Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  American Bach Soloists
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  • 84.
    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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  • 85.
    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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  • 86.
    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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  • 87.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos 4-6, Etc / Koopman, Amsterdam Baroque
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 2564613642 Release Date: 05/29/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Jean-Pierre Rampal
    Conductor:  Ton Koopman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra
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  • 88.
    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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  • 89.
    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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  • 90.
    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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  • 91.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos No 4-6 / Koch, Berlin Co
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 255 Release Date: 10/01/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Helmut Koch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Chamber Orchestra
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  • 92.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Collegium Aureum
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 670043 Release Date: 07/18/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Collegium Aureum
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  • 93.
    Everybody's Bach
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000414802 Release Date: 03/08/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Raymond Leppard,  Simon Preston,  Trevor Pinnock,  Pierre Fournier  ... 
    Conductor:  Raymond Leppard,  Reinhard Goebel,  Trevor Pinnock,  Arthur Fiedler  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Musica Antiqua Cologne,  English Concert  ... 
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  • 94.
    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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  • 95.
    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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  • 96.
    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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  • 97.
    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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  • 98.
    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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  • 99.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos 4-6 / Leppard, English Co
    Label: Universal   Catalog: 000054602 Release Date: 06/10/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Raymond Leppard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
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  • 100.
    Blue - Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Etc / Pinnock, Et Al
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 474220 Release Date: 01/10/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Lisa Beznosiuk,  Simon Standage,  Trevor Pinnock
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
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