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: Concerto for 2 Violins in D minor, BWV 1043

Browse 1-25 of 139 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Pinchas Zukerman: Complete Recordings on DG, Decca, & Philips
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: B002514302 Release Date: 07/22/2016   Number of Discs: 22
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Pinchas Zukerman,  Midori,  Daniel Barenboim,  Marc Neikrug  ... 
    Conductor:  Pinchas Zukerman,  Daniel Barenboim,  Charles Dutoit,  Pierre Boulez  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra,  St. Paul Chamber Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 2.
    Bach: Complete Concertos
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 95303 Release Date: 06/24/2016   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Erwin Wieringa,  Remy Baudet,  Frank De Bruine,  Teunis Van der Zwart  ... 
    Conductor:  Pieter-Jan Belder,  Burkhard Glaetzner,  Kurt Masur,  Donatas Katkus
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Amphion,  Amsterdam Bach Soloists,  Neues Bachisches Collegium Musicum Leipzig  ... 
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  • 3.
    Bach: Solo & Double Violin Concertos / Manze, Podger, Academy of Ancient Music
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 1957155 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Andrew Manze,  Rachel Podger
    Conductor:  Andrew Manze
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
    CD: $9.99
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  • 4.
    Archiv Produktion: Analogue Stereo Recordings (1959-1981)
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 002490502 Release Date: 05/20/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Pierre Vachon,  Nicolas-Marie Dalayrac,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Stader,  Hedwig Bilgram,  Hertha Töpper,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Richter,  August Wenzinger,  Karl Ristenpart,  Robert Stehli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Bach Orchestra,  Munich Bach Choir,  Loewenguth String Quartet  ... 
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  • 5.
    Great Moments at Carnegie Hall
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 503227 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 43
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Roy Harris,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz,  Jussi Björling,  Frederick Schauwecker,  Van Cliburn  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini,  Serge Koussevitzky,  Bruno Walter,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
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  • 6.
    The Menuhin Century: Luxury Edition
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 555050 Release Date: 04/22/2016   Number of Discs: 91
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny,  Arcangelo Corelli  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Hubert Giesen,  Artur Balsam,  Marcel Gazelle  ... 
    Conductor:  Landon Ronald,  Pierre Monteux,  Jean Fournet,  Anatole Fistoulari  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Paris Symphonic Orchestra,  Colonne Concerts Orchestra  ... 
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  • 7.
    The Menuhin Century: The Historic Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 555052 Release Date: 04/22/2016   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonín Dvorák,  Niccolň Paganini  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Gerald Moore,  George Enescu,  David Oistrakh  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Edward Elgar,  George Enescu,  Pierre Monteux,  Sir John Barbirolli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Paris Symphonic Orchestra,  Orchestre De La Société Des Concerts Du Conservatoire  ... 
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  • 8.
    Bach: Violin Concertos / Bernardini, Dunedin Consort
    Label: Linn Records   Catalog: 519 Release Date: 03/11/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Cecilia Bernardini,  Alfredo Bernardini,  Huw Daniel
    Conductor:  John Butt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dunedin Consort
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  • 9.
    Bach: Complete Works for Violin / Schmid, Cis Collegium Mozarteum Salzburg
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 13 Release Date: 01/08/2016   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Benjamin Schmid,  Clara Dent,  Helge Rosenkranz,  Anthony Spiri  ... 
    Conductor:  Jürgen Geise
    CD: $34.99
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  • 10.
    111: The Collector's Editions [111 CDs]
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002422702 Release Date: 12/11/2015   Number of Discs: 111
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Daniel Barenboim,  Lorin Maazel,  Franz Konwitschny  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Amadeus Quartet,  Orchestre de Paris  ... 
    CD: $325.49
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  • 11.
    Itzhak Perlman: The Complete Warner Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 552439 Release Date: 09/25/2015   Number of Discs: 77
    Composer:  Niccolň Paganini,  Pablo de Sarasate,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Ray Still,  Samuel Sanders  ... 
    Conductor:  Lawrence Foster,  Daniel Barenboim,  Itzhak Perlman,  Bernard Haitink  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 12.
    J.s. Bach: Double Concerto; Violin Concerto No. 2; Violin Concertos; Concerto For Violin And Oboe
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 552442 Release Date: 09/25/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Pinchas Zukerman,  Itzhak Perlman,  Neil Black
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
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  • 13.
    J.s. Bach: Violin Concertos Bwv 1041 & 1042; Double Concerto Bwv 1043; Partita No. 2 - Chaconne
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 552121 Release Date: 09/18/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  George Enescu
    Conductor:  George Enescu,  Pierre Monteux
    CD: $12.99
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  • 14.
    J.S. Bach: Concertos for One, Two and Three Violins
    Label: Portland Baroque Media   Catalog: 8916 Release Date: 07/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Monica Huggett,  Jolianne Von Einem,  Carla Moore,  Rob Diggins
    Conductor:  Monica Huggett
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Portland Baroque Orchestra
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  • 15.
    Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra - The Complete Sony Recordings
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875030622 Release Date: 06/16/2015   Number of Discs: 47
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wilhelm Friedemann Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Heinrich Ignaz Biber  ... 
    Performer:  Jeanne Lamon,  Stephen Marvin,  Christina Mahler,  Ivars Taurins  ... 
    Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon,  Bruno Weil,  Frieder Bernius
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik,  Stuttgart Chamber Choir,  Tölz Boys Choir  ... 
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  • 16.
    The Bach Recordings / Hogwood, Academy of Ancient Music
    Label: L'oiseau Lyre   Catalog: 002307502 Release Date: 05/12/2015   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach,  Johann Christian Bach,  Wilhelm Friedemann Bach
    Performer:  Christophe Rousset,  Catherine Mackintosh,  Monica Huggett,  Christopher Hirons  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
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  • 17.
    Bach, Schnittke: Concerto For Two Violins /  Sarah & Deborah Nemtanu
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5383 Release Date: 02/24/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Alfred Schnittke
    Performer:  Sarah Nemtanu,  Deborah Nemtanu
    Conductor:  Sascha Goetzel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Chamber Orchestra
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  • 18.
    Bach: Violin Concertos / Mortensen, Concerto Copenhagen
    Label: Cpo   Catalog: 777904 Release Date: 02/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Fredrik From,  Bjarte Eike,  Peter Spissky,  Manfredo Kraemer  ... 
    Conductor:  Lars Ulrik Mortensen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Copenhagen
    CD: $17.99
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  • 19.
    Bach: Violin Concertos / Carmignola, Concerto Koln
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 002167502 Release Date: 11/04/2014  
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Giuliano Carmignola,  Mayumi Hirasaki
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Cologne
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  • 20.
    Leonard Bernstein Edition - Concertos & Orchestral Works
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 301330 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 80
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Béla Bartók  ... 
    Performer:  Isaac Stern,  Leonard Bernstein,  Harold Gomberg,  William Heim  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Seiji Ozawa,  Maurice Peress
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  New York Philharmonic members,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 21.
    The Originals - Legendary Recordings from DG
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002171502 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Pierre Fournier,  Walter Berry  ... 
    Conductor:  David Oistrakh,  Sir Eugene Goossens,  Franz Konwitschny,  Carlos Kleiber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 22.
    Bach: Complete Edition
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 1116165 Release Date: 09/02/2014   Number of Discs: 142
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Remy Baudet,  Theunis Van der Zwart,  Erwin Wieringa,  Pieter-Jan Belder  ... 
    Conductor:  Pieter-Jan Belder,  Ludwig Güttler,  Thomas Zehetmair,  Kurt Masur  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Amphion,  Virtuosi Saxoniae,  Amsterdam Bach Soloists  ... 
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  • 23.
    Bach, Berg: Violin Concertos
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 2241 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Alban Berg
    Performer:  Leonid Kogan,  Pavel Kogan
    Conductor:  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra Soloists Ensemble
    CD: $18.99
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  • 24.
    The Baroque Virtuoso / Jeanne Lamon, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra
    Label: Tafelmusik Media   Catalog: 1026 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Francesco Geminiani,  Johann Heinrich Schmelzer,  Heinrich Ignaz Biber  ... 
    Performer:  Jeanne Lamon
    Conductor:  Jeanne Lamon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tafelmusik
    CD: $18.99
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  • 25.
    Bach: Concertos
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1002127 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh
    Conductor:  Rudolf Barshai
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