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 Well-Tempered Clavier I / Aimard
Release Date: 08/19/2014   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 002119902   Number of Discs: 2
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Baroque Collection - Handel, Vivaldi, Bach, Pachelbel, Et Al
Release Date: 09/29/1992   Label: Emi Classics  
Catalog: 67425   Number of Discs: 2
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Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Violin Concertos / Rees, Scottish Ensemble
Release Date: 05/05/1998   Label: Virgin Classics Veritas  
Catalog: 61403   Number of Discs: 2
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Bach: Orchestral Suites / Pinnock
Release Date: 05/08/2007   Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)  
Catalog: 000872302   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Partitas / Igor Levit
Release Date: 08/25/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 307630   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Concerto for 2 Violins in D minor, BWV 1043

Browse 101-125 of 169 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Bach: Complete Violin Works / Schmid, Geise, Et Al
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 318 Release Date: 01/01/2004   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Clara Dent,  Benjamin Schmid,  Anthony Spiri,  Helge Rosenkranz
    Conductor:  Jürgen Geise
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cis Collegium Mozarteum Salzburg
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  • 102.
    Bach: Violin Concertos / Benjamin Schmid, Et Al
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 247 Release Date: 01/01/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Benjamin Schmid
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Salzburg Mozarteum Cis Collegium
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  • 103.
    Hilary Hahn - Bach: Violin Concertos / Kahane, La Co
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000154636 Release Date: 11/11/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Allan Vogel,  Hilary Hahn,  Margaret Batjer
    Conductor:  Jeffrey Kahane
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
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  • 104.
    Yehudi Menuhin - The Violinist
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 85562 Release Date: 11/04/2003   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Carl Nielsen,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Gioconda de Vito,  Robert Masters,  Derek Simpson  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir William Walton,  Mogens Wöldike,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Anthony Bernard  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Menuhin Festival Orchestra  ... 
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  • 105.
    The Perlman Edition - Bach: Violin Concertos/ Perlman, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 62602 Release Date: 10/21/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Ray Still,  Pinchas Zukerman
    Conductor:  Itzhak Perlman,  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra
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  • 106.
    Hilary Hahn - Bach: Violin Concertos / Kahane, La Co
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000098602 Release Date: 09/09/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Allan Vogel,  Hilary Hahn,  Margaret Batjer
    Conductor:  Jeffrey Kahane
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
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  • 107.
    Bach: Violin Sonatas, Concerto For 2 Violins / Szigeti
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 2030 Release Date: 01/28/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Joseph Szigeti,  Karl Flesch
    Conductor:  Walter Goehr
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 108.
    Bach: Orchestral Suites, Etc / Kehr, Faerber, Et Al
    Label: Vox Box   Catalog: 3608 Release Date: 12/10/2002   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Günter Höller,  Georg Egger,  Christine Sartoretti,  Christiane Jaccottet  ... 
    Conductor:  Jörg Faerber,  Günter Kehr
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Württemberg Chamber Orchestra,  Mainz Chamber Orchestra
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  • 109.
    The Baroque Experience / Hogwood, Academy Of Ancient Music
    Label: L'oiseau Lyre   Catalog: 33523 Release Date: 10/29/2002   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Giuseppe Torelli,  Arcangelo Corelli  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
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  • 110.
    Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart: Violin Concertos / Leonid Kogan
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1223 Release Date: 10/08/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Antonio Vivaldi
    Performer:  Leonid Kogan,  Elizaveta Gilels
    Conductor:  Otto Ackermann,  Constantin Silvestri,  André Vandernoot
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris
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  • 111.
    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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  • 112.
    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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  • 113.
    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
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  • 114.
    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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  • 115.
    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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  • 116.
    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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  • 117.
    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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  • 118.
    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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  • 119.
    Bach J.s: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1 - 6, Etc.
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 468549 Release Date: 06/12/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Carl Pini,  Graham Sheen,  Barry Davis,  Celia Nicklin  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 120.
    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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  • 121.
    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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  • 122.
    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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  • 123.
    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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  • 124.
    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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  • 125.
    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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