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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: Concerto for 2 Violins in D minor, BWV 1043

Browse 101-125 of 157 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 65538 Release Date: 09/10/2002  
    Composer:  Pablo de Sarasate,  Edouard Lalo,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Salvatore Accardo
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa,  Salvatore Accardo,  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 102.
    Bach: Violin Concertos / Perlman, Zukerman, Barenboim, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics Encore   Catalog: 74720 Release Date: 08/13/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Pinchas Zukerman
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
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  • 103.
    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: $23.99
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  • 104.
    Bach: The Complete Orchestral Works / Neville Marriner, Asmf
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 456377 Release Date: 05/14/2002   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  William Bennett,  Maurice Hasson,  Henryk Szeryng,  José Luis Garcia  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Raymond Leppard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields members
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  • 105.
    Bach: Concertos BWV 1041-1043, 1060 / Kremer, Holliger
    Label: Philips Insignia Series   Catalog: 434730 Release Date: 05/08/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Heinz Holliger,  Gidon Kremer
    Conductor:  Gidon Kremer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 106.
    Bach: Double Concerto, The Violin Concertos / Kremer
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 411108 Release Date: 05/08/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Gidon Kremer
    Conductor:  Gidon Kremer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 107.
    Bach: Violin Concertos / Jaakko Kuusisto, Pekka Kuusisto
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 980 Release Date: 04/23/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Jaakko Kuusisto,  Pekka Kuusisto
    Conductor:  Pekka Kuusisto
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tapiola Sinfonietta
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  • 108.
    Bach 2000 Vol 133 - Violin Concertos / Harnoncourt, Et Al
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 81221 Release Date: 09/18/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Alice Harnoncourt,  Jürg Schaeftlein,  Walter Pfeiffer
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
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  • 109.
    Baroque Favorites / Tafelmusik, Helicon Ensemble
    Label: Reference Recordings   Catalog: 2101 Release Date: 06/05/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Henry Purcell  ... 
    Performer:  Albert Fuller,  Linda Quan,  Stanley Ritchie,  Jaap Schröder  ... 
    Conductor:  Albert Fuller,  Jeanne Lamon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Helicon,  Tafelmusik
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  • 110.
    Portrait Of A Legendary Violinist - Bach, Mozart / Shumsky
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 1735 Release Date: 06/05/2001   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Eugène Ysaÿe,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Oscar Shumsky,  Robin Miller,  John Tunnell
    Conductor:  Yan Pascal Tortelier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
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  • 111.
    Bach: Concertos / Trevor Pinnock, The English Concert
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 463725 Release Date: 03/13/2001   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Trevor Pinnock,  Simon Standage,  Lisa Beznosiuk,  Rachel Beckett  ... 
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
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  • 112.
    Merit - Bach: Concertos For 1, 2 & 3 Violins / Sand, Et Al
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 4819 Release Date: 01/23/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Phebe Craig,  Lisa Grodin,  Michael Sand,  Lisa Weiss  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Sand
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arcangeli Baroque Strings
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  • 113.
    Kennedy Plays Bach With The Berlin Philharmonic
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 57091 Release Date: 01/09/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Nigel Kennedy,  Daniel Stabrawa,  Albrecht Mayer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 114.
    Legendary Treasures - David Oistrakh Collection Vol 8 - Bach
    Label: Doremi Records   Catalog: 7760 Release Date: 12/26/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  David Oistrakh,  Vladimir Yampolsky,  Alexander Korneyev  ... 
    Conductor:  Alexander Orlov,  Rudolf Barshai
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  USSR State Symphony Orchestra,  Moscow Chamber Orchestra
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  • 115.
    J.s. Bach, Vivaldi: Violin Concerti
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 553231 Release Date: 10/05/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Takako Nishizaki,  Alexander Jablokov
    Conductor:  Oliver Dohnányi
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  • 116.
    Bach: Concertos Vol 1 / Suzuki, Terakado, Wakamatsu, Et Al
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 961 Release Date: 05/15/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Masaaki Suzuki,  Ryo Terakado,  Marcel Ponseele,  Natsumi Wakamatsu
    Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan
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  • 117.
    Edition Bachakademie Vol 125 - Violin Concertos Bwv 1041-1043
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 92125 Release Date: 02/29/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Isabelle Faust,  Christoph Poppen
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Bach Collegium
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  • 118.
    In Memoriam - Yehudi Menuhin - Rare Broadcast Performances
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 1053 Release Date: 02/22/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Edouard Lalo,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Yehudi Menuhin
    Conductor:  George Georgescu,  Ernest Ansermet,  Pierre Monteux,  Artur Rodzinski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bucharest George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra,  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 119.
    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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  • 120.
    Naxos Bach Edition 2 - Bach: Violin Concertos / Müller-brühl
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8554603 Release Date: 01/25/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Kolja Blacher,  Lisa Stewart,  Christine Pichlmeier
    Conductor:  Helmut Müller-Brühl
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Chamber Orchestra
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  • 121.
    Bach: Violin Concertos / Menuhin, Enescu, Monteaux, Paris So
    Label: Emi Classics Références   Catalog: 67201 Release Date: 01/11/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  George Enescu
    Conductor:  George Enescu,  Pierre Monteux
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Symphony Orchestra
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  • 122.
    Double Concertos - Bach, Mozart, Brahms / Heifetz, Et Al
    Label: Rca Victor Living Stereo   Catalog: 63531 Release Date: 01/11/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Jascha Heifetz,  Erick Friedman,  Thornton Lofthouse,  William Primrose  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Izler Solomon,  Alfred Wallenstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Symphony Orchestra,  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
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  • 123.
    Ilan Guetta Plays Bach Electric
    Label: Jrb   Catalog: 2003 Release Date: 09/21/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Robert Mozes,  Alexander Kaganovsky,  Elyakum Saltzman,  Ilan Guetta  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel String Quartet
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  • 124.
    Bach: Violin Concertos, Etc / Wallfisch, Bury, Et Al
    Label: Virgin Classics Veritas   Catalog: 61558 Release Date: 06/08/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Elizabeth Wallfisch,  Pavlo Beznosiuk,  Catherine Mackintosh,  Paul Nicholson  ... 
    Conductor:  Elizabeth Wallfisch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
    CD not available
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  • 125.
    Bach: Solo & Double Violin Concertos / Manze, Podger, AAM
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 2907155 Release Date: 04/13/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Rachel Podger,  Andrew Manze
    Conductor:  Andrew Manze
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
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