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
Testament: Bach - Complete Sonatas & Partitas for Solo Violin / Pine
Release Date: 04/01/2016   Label: Avie  
Catalog: 2360   Number of Discs: 2
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Bach: Mass in B Minor / Mortensen, Concerto Copenhagen
Release Date: 01/08/2016   Label: Cpo  
Catalog: 777851   Number of Discs: 2
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Bach: Secular Cantatas, Vol. 7 / Suzuki, Bach Collegium Japan
Release Date: 09/09/2016   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 2191   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach, Glass / Apkalna
Release Date: 07/10/2015   Label: Oehms  
Catalog: 1827   Number of Discs: 2
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Bach: Goldberg Variations - Buxtehude: La capricciosa / Schornsheim
Release Date: 09/09/2016   Label: Capriccio Records  
Catalog: 5286   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Brandenburg Concerto no 5

Browse 126-150 of 174 Available Recordings
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  • 126.
    Yehudi Menuhin - The Violinist
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 85562 Release Date: 11/04/2003   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Carl Nielsen,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Gioconda de Vito,  Robert Masters,  Derek Simpson  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir William Walton,  Mogens Wöldike,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Anthony Bernard  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Menuhin Festival Orchestra  ... 
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  • 127.
    Murray Perahia Plays Bach
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 87326 Release Date: 10/07/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Murray Perahia,  Kenneth Sillito,  Jaime Martin,  Jakob Lindberg
    Conductor:  Murray Perahia
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
    CD: $9.99
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  • 128.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concerto 1, 2, 5 / Karl Richter
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 48993 Release Date: 05/20/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Karl Richter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Karl Richter Chamber Orchestra
    CD: $8.99
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  • 129.
    Bach: Orchestral Suites, Etc / Kehr, Faerber, Et Al
    Label: Vox Box   Catalog: 3608 Release Date: 12/10/2002   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Günter Höller,  Georg Egger,  Christine Sartoretti,  Christiane Jaccottet  ... 
    Conductor:  Jörg Faerber,  Günter Kehr
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Württemberg Chamber Orchestra,  Mainz Chamber Orchestra
    CD: $23.99
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  • 130.
    Bach: Brandenberg Concertos, Orchestral Suites, Etc / Goebel
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 471656 Release Date: 10/08/2002   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Wilbert Hazelzet,  Hendrik Bouman,  Jaap ter Linden,  Robert Hill  ... 
    Conductor:  Reinhard Goebel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Antiqua Cologne
    On sale! $63.98
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  • 131.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Linde Consort
    Label: Virgin Classics Veritas Edition   Catalog: 61154 Release Date: 09/10/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Joszef Brejza,  Renate Hildebrand,  Herbert Höver,  Bernard Leguillon  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans-Martin Linde
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Linde Consort
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  • 132.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Rampe, La Stravaganza Hamburg
    Label: Virgin Classics Veritas   Catalog: 45255 Release Date: 09/10/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Siegbert Rampe
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Stravaganza Hamburg
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  • 133.
    Beethoven: Symphony No 3;  Bach / Furtwängler, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 67422 Release Date: 09/10/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Willi Boskovsky
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra members
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  • 134.
    Bach: Brandenburgische Konzerte No 1, 3 & 5 / Güttler, Et Al
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 1730 Release Date: 06/25/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Ludwig Güttler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Virtuosi Saxoniae
    CD: $19.99
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  • 135.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concerti;  Mozart / Otto Klemperer
    Label: Vox Box Legends   Catalog: 7812 Release Date: 06/11/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pro musica
    CD: $13.99
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  • 136.
    Trio - Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Etc / Marriner, Asmf
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 470934 Release Date: 06/11/2002   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  William Bennett,  John Birch,  Denis Vigay,  Kenneth Sillito  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
    CD: $25.49
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  • 137.
    Awadagin Pratt And The St. Lawrence String Quartet Play Bach
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 57227B Release Date: 03/12/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ferruccio Busoni
    Performer:  Awadagin Pratt,  Barry Shiffman,  Marina Hoover,  Lesley Robertson  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Lawrence String Quartet
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  • 138.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Orchestral Suites / Karl Richter
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 463657 Release Date: 02/01/2002   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Gerhart Hetzel,  Karl Richter,  Aurèle Nicolet,  Ingo Sinnhoffer  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Richter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Bach Orchestra
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  • 139.
    Concertos Vol 2 -bach: Brandenburg Concertos /Bach Collegium
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1151/2 Release Date: 07/24/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
    CD: $44.49
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  • 140.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No 5, Etc / Emmanuel Pahud, Et Al
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 57111 Release Date: 03/13/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Emmanuel Pahud
    Conductor:  Rainer Kussmaul
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Baroque Soloists
    CD: $11.99
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  • 141.
    Johann Sebastian Bach: Six Brandenburg Concertos Bwv 1046-1051 Complete Edition
    Label: Tacet   Catalog: 101 Release Date: 12/23/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
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  • 142.
    Label: Direct Source   Catalog: 30702 Release Date: 11/14/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Franz Schubert,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Strauss Jr.  ... 
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  • 143.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No 5, Etc / Kagan, Richter, Et Al
    Label: Live Classics   Catalog: 103 Release Date: 07/25/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Oleg Kagan,  Sviatoslav Richter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Conservatory Chamber Orchestra
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  • 144.
    Bach: Complete Orchestral Works / Müller-brühl, Et Al
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8508005 Release Date: 01/25/2000   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi
    Performer:  Anja M. Schmiel,  Stefan Schilli,  Hans-Martin Kothe,  Stephan Rapp  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmut Müller-Brühl
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Chamber Orchestra
    CD: $58.99
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  • 145.
    Naxos Bach Edition 7 - Bach: Brandenburg Concertos Ii
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8554608 Release Date: 01/25/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Eva Morsbach,  Nadja Schubert,  Robert Hill,  Christine Pichlmeier  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmut Müller-Brühl
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Chamber Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 146.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Etc / Cortot, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics Special Import   Catalog: 67211 Release Date: 01/11/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Alfred Cortot
    Conductor:  Alfred Cortot
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ecole Normale Chamber Orchestra Paris
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  • 147.
    Foss Plays Bach / Mann, Feeney, Elysium String Quartet
    Label: Elysium   Catalog: 717 Release Date: 11/29/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Elizabeth Mann,  Lukas Foss,  John Feeney
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Elysium String Quartet
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  • 148.
    Edition Bachakademie Vol 126 - Brandenburg Concertos
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 92126 Release Date: 10/19/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oregon Bach Festival Chamber Orchestra
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  • 149.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos Vol 2 / Gustav Leonhardt, Et Al
    Label: Sony Classical Essential Classics   Catalog: 61815 Release Date: 09/03/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Anner Bylsma,  Adelheid Glatt,  Wieland Kuijken,  Lucy Van Dael  ... 
    Conductor:  Gustav Leonhardt
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  • 150.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Huggett, Age Of Enlightenment
    Label: Virgin Classics Veritas   Catalog: 61552 Release Date: 06/08/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Monica Huggett
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
    CD: $11.99
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