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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 Art of Fugue / Angela Hewitt
Release Date: 10/14/2014   Label: Hyperion  
Catalog: 67980   Number of Discs: 2
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Glenn Gould - The Complete Bach Collection
Release Date: 10/30/2012   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 196114   Number of Discs: 44
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Bach: St. Matthew Passion / Kozena, Padmore, Rattle
Release Date: 09/30/2014   Label: Berlin Philharmonic  
Catalog: 140021   Number of Discs: 3
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Bach: The Six French Suites / Sergey Schepkin
Release Date: 11/11/2014   Label: Steinway & Sons  
Catalog: 30046   Number of Discs: 2
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Bach: St. John Passion / Kozena, Padmore, Rattle
Release Date: 09/30/2014   Label: Berlin Philharmonic  
Catalog: 140031   Number of Discs: 3
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Work: Brandenburg Concerto no 6

Browse 76-100 of 150 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    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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  • 77.
    Bach: Brandenberg Concertos / Amsterdam Guitar Trio
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 6546 Release Date: 03/12/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Guitar Trio
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  • 78.
    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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  • 79.
    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  ... 
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  • 80.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos No 1-6, Etc / Marriner, Et Al
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 955 Release Date: 10/02/2007   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 81.
    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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  • 82.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos No 5-6, Suite No 2 / Baumgartner
    Label: Rca Victrola   Catalog: 60533 Release Date: 07/23/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Rudolf Baumgartner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lucerne Festival Strings
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  • 83.
    The Huberman Festival / Mehta, Zukerman, Stern, Perlman
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4250 Release Date: 06/26/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng,  Isaac Stern,  Shlomo Mintz,  Itzhak Perlman  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 84.
    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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  • 85.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos 5-6, Etc / Fasolis, Et Al
    Label: Arts Music   Catalog: 47716 Release Date: 03/13/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Diego Fasolis,  Giovanni De Rosa,  Duilio Galfetti,  Maurice Steger  ... 
    Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
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  • 86.
    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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  • 87.
    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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  • 88.
    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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  • 89.
    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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  • 90.
    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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  • 91.
    Parabolically Bach / Gwozdz, Sax-chamber Orchestra
    Label: Roméo Records   Catalog: 7251 Release Date: 06/27/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Lawrence Gwozdz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sax-Chamber Orchestra
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  • 92.
    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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  • 93.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Goltz, Freiburger Barockorchester
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2050316 Release Date: 04/18/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Gottfried Von der Goltz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Freiburg Baroque Orchestra
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  • 94.
    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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  • 95.
    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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  • 96.
    Cello, Celli! - Bach, Brubeck / Parisot, Yale Cellos
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8557816 Release Date: 01/17/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Dave Brubeck
    Conductor:  Aldo Parisot
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Yale Cellos
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  • 97.
    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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  • 98.
    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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  • 99.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos No 5-6, Orchestral Suite No 1 / Marriner, ASMF
    Label: Emi Classics Encore   Catalog: 85795 Release Date: 07/13/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Celia Nicklin,  Denis Vigay,  Barry Davis,  Graham Sheen  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 100.
    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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