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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Glenn Gould - The Complete Bach Collection
Release Date: 10/30/2012   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 196114   Number of Discs: 44
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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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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: Concerto for 2 Violins in D minor, BWV 1043

Browse 126-150 of 169 Available Recordings
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  • 126.
    Bach J.s: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2, Double Concerto
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4681242 Release Date: 09/04/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Salvatore Accardo,  Margaret Batjer,  Douglas Boyd
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe
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  • 127.
    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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  • 128.
    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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  • 129.
    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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  • 130.
    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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  • 131.
    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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  • 132.
    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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  • 133.
    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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  • 134.
    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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  • 135.
    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
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  • 136.
    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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  • 137.
    Classics Exposed - Vivaldi & Bach / Chiarappa, Et Al
    Label: Denon Records   Catalog: 17007 Release Date: 10/20/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi
    Performer:  Carlo Chiarappa,  Jean-Jacques Kantorow,  Sigrid Cenariu
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Accademia Bizantina,  Munich Chamber Orchestra
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  • 138.
    Bach: Violin Concertos, Concerto For 2 Violins /Lautenbacher
    Label: Vox Allegretto   Catalog: 8057 Release Date: 09/29/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Suzanne Lautenbacher,  Dieter Vorholz
    Conductor:  Günter Kehr
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mainz Chamber Orchestra
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  • 139.
    Bach: Violin Concertos 1 & 2, Concerto For 2 Violins / Hogwood, Schröder
    Label: L'oiseau Lyre   Catalog: 400080 Release Date: 08/30/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Christopher Hirons,  Jaap Schröder
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
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  • 140.
    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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  • 141.
    Israel Philharmonic Orchestra- 60th Anniversary Gala Concert
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 68768 Release Date: 03/25/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johan Halvorsen,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Ariel Shamai,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Itzhak Perlman,  Gil Shaham  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Pinchas Zukerman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 142.
    Bach: Solo & Double Violin Concertos / Manze, Podger
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 907155 Release Date: 03/10/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Andrew Manze,  Rachel Podger
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
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  • 143.
    The Best Of Baroque
    Label: Philips Duo   Catalog: 456049 Release Date: 02/14/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johann Pachelbel  ... 
    Performer:  Jean-Claude Hermanjat,  Ursula Holliger,  André Pépin,  Szymon Goldberg  ... 
    Conductor:  Szymon Goldberg,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici,  Netherlands Chamber Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
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  • 144.
    Bach: Violin Concertos Bwv 1041-1043 / Huggett, Koopman
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 16165 Release Date: 10/29/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Alison Bury,  Monica Huggett
    Conductor:  Ton Koopman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra
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  • 145.
    Bach: Violin Concertos / Standage, Collegium Musicum 90
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 594 Release Date: 09/24/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Miles Golding,  Simon Standage,  Micaela Comberti
    Conductor:  Simon Standage
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Collegium Musicum 90
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  • 146.
    Bach: Violin Concertos / Shumsky, Scottish Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7031 Release Date: 06/04/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Robin Miller,  Oscar Shumsky,  John Tunnell
    Conductor:  Oscar Shumsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
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  • 147.
    Bach J.s: Violin Concertos Bwv 1041-1043
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 454128 Release Date: 04/16/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Gidon Kremer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 148.
    Bach: Violin Concerti / Collard, Meister, Et Al
    Label: Doron Music   Catalog: 5005 Release Date: 01/30/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Isaac Duarte,  Gilles Collard,  Saskia Lethiec
    Conductor:  Christoph Meister
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brixi Chamber Orchestra
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  • 149.
    Bach, Brahms, Tchaikovsky: Violin Concertos / David Oistrakh
    Label: Dg The Originals   Catalog: 447427 Release Date: 01/23/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh
    Conductor:  Franz Konwitschny,  Sir Eugene Goossens,  David Oistrakh
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Symphony Orchestra
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  • 150.
    Bach: The 4 Orchestral Suites, Etc / Marriner, Szeryng
    Label: Philips Duo   Catalog: 446533 Release Date: 10/17/1995   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Maurice Hasson,  Henryk Szeryng
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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