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: The Six Partitas / Schepkin
Release Date: 07/08/2016   Label: Steinway & Sons  
Catalog: 30062   Number of Discs: 2
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Bach & Beethoven / Vengerov, Golan
Release Date: 01/29/2013   Label: Wigmore Hall Live  
Catalog: 56   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Complete Works for Organ / Alain
Release Date: 09/17/2007   Label: Erato  
Catalog: 4699028   Number of Discs: 15
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Sacred Music - Bach, Handel, Beethoven / Klemperer
Release Date: 08/20/2013   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 935402   Number of Discs: 8
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Miklos Perenyi, Denes Varjon Play Bach, Brahms, Britten
Release Date: 06/01/2010   Label: Wigmore Hall Live  
Catalog: 35   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Brandenburg Concerto no 5

Browse 151-175 of 176 Available Recordings
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  • 151.
    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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  • 152.
    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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  • 153.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos 1-7/ Cambridge Baroque Camerata
    Label: Intim Musik   Catalog: 55/56 Release Date: 06/01/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Jonathan Hellyer Jones
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Baroque Camerata
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  • 154.
    Legendary Treasures - Emil Gilels Legacy Vol 1
    Label: Doremi Records   Catalog: 7747 Release Date: 05/18/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Emil Gilels,  Elizaveta Gilels,  N. Kharkovsky
    Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  USSR State Symphony Orchestra,  Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 155.
    Label: Intim Musik   Catalog: 55 Release Date: 09/08/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Baroque Camerata
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  • 156.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos No 1-6 / Konrad Hünteler
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm) Gold   Catalog: 3110746 Release Date: 10/21/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Albert Brüggen,  Roel Dieltiens,  Richte Van der Meer,  Sayuri Yamagata  ... 
    Conductor:  Konrad Hünteler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Camerata of the 18th Century
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  • 157.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Etc / Christopher Hogwood
    Label: L'oiseau Lyre   Catalog: 455700 Release Date: 10/21/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Christopher Hirons,  Catherine Mackintosh,  Monica Huggett,  Christopher Hogwood  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
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  • 158.
    Bach: The Brandenburg Concertos / Leonhardt, Bruggen, Kuijken, Bylsma
    Label: Sony Classical Seon   Catalog: 62946 Release Date: 06/03/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Janneke Van der Meer,  Lucy Van Dael,  Wiel Peeters,  Marleen Thiers  ... 
    Conductor:  Gustav Leonhardt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leonhardt Consort
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  • 159.
    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
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  • 160.
    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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  • 161.
    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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  • 162.
    Bach Instrumental Highlights / Preston, Rilling, Et Al
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98996 Release Date: 08/12/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Keiko Wakamatsu,  Junko Wakamatsu,  Thomas Indermühle,  Martha Schuster  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling,  Simon Preston
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oregon Bach Festival Chamber Orchestra,  Stuttgart Bach Collegium,  English Chamber Orchestra
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  • 163.
    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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  • 164.
    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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  • 165.
    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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  • 166.
    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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  • 167.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1, 3, 5 / Bosse
    Label: Curb Records   Catalog: 78012 Release Date: 01/24/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Gerhard Bosse
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig New Bach Collegium Musicum
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  • 168.
    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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  • 169.
    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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  • 170.
    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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  • 171.
    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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  • 172.
    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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  • 173.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Karajan, Berlin Philharmonic
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 415374 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 174.
    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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  • 175.
    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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