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: Partitas / Igor Levit
Release Date: 08/25/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 307630   Number of Discs: 2
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Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier I / Aimard
Release Date: 08/19/2014   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 002119902   Number of Discs: 2
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W. F. Bach: Sinfonias / Haenchen, C. P. E. Bach Kammerorchester
Release Date: 06/24/2014   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 94690   Number of Discs: 1
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Musica Sacra - Bach: St. Matthew Passion / Cleobury
Release Date: 11/10/2009   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 93941   Number of Discs: 3
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Bach: Complete Harpsichord Concertos / Schornsheim, Belder
Release Date: 11/13/2012   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 94421   Number of Discs: 3
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Work: Brandenburg Concerto no 5

Browse 151-175 of 192 Available Recordings
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  • 151.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Etc / Goebel, Pinnock, Et Al
    Label: Dg Panorama   Catalog: 469103 Release Date: 09/26/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Simon Standage,  Trevor Pinnock,  Nicholas Kraemer,  Kenneth Gilbert  ... 
    Conductor:  Reinhard Goebel,  Trevor Pinnock
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Antiqua Cologne,  English Concert
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  • 152.
    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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  • 153.
    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
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  • 154.
    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
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  • 155.
    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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  • 156.
    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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  • 157.
    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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  • 158.
    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
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  • 159.
    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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  • 160.
    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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  • 161.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos No 5 & 6, Etc / Schwarz, Et Al
    Label: Emi Seraphim   Catalog: 73282 Release Date: 04/20/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Ransom Wilson
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
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  • 162.
    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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  • 163.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Violin Concertos / Rees, Scottish Ensemble
    Label: Virgin Classics Veritas   Catalog: 61403 Release Date: 05/05/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Jonathan Rees
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Ensemble
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  • 164.
    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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  • 165.
    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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  • 166.
    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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  • 167.
    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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  • 168.
    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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  • 169.
    Bach: The Brandenburg Concertos, Etc / Karajan, Berlin Po
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 453001 Release Date: 08/15/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Karlheinz Zöller,  Michel Schwalbé,  Edith Picht-Axenfeld,  Matthias Rutters  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 170.
    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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  • 171.
    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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  • 172.
    Bach: Six Brandenburg Concertos / Lamon, Tafelmusik
    Label: Sony Classical Vivarte Series   Catalog: 66289 Release Date: 10/17/1995   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik
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  • 173.
    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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  • 174.
    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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  • 175.
    Bach: Brandenburgische Konzerte 4, 5, 6, Etc / Goebel, Koln
    Label: Dg Archiv Masters   Catalog: 447288 Release Date: 04/03/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Reinhard Goebel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Antiqua Cologne
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