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
An Advent Concert of Music by Bach / Harnoncourt, Schafer, Bostridge, Concentus Musicus Wien
Release Date: 10/14/2003   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 2912   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Weihnachts Oratorium / Christophers, The Sixteen
Release Date: 01/01/2003   Label: Coro  
Catalog: 16017   Number of Discs: 2
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Bach: Christmas Oratorio / Butt, Dunedin Consort
Release Date: 10/14/2016   Label: Linn Records  
Catalog: 499   Number of Discs: 2
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Bach: Christmas Oratorio / Ton Koopman, Amsterdam Baroque
Release Date: 10/01/1996   Label: Erato  
Catalog: 14635   Number of Discs: 2
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Testament: Bach - Complete Sonatas & Partitas for Solo Violin / Pine
Release Date: 04/01/2016   Label: Avie  
Catalog: 2360   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Concerto for 2 Violins in D minor, BWV 1043

Browse 51-75 of 142 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    The Complete Bach Edition
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 664202 Release Date: 03/27/2012   Number of Discs: 154
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Max van Egmond,  Kurt Equiluz,  Paul Esswood,  Walter Gampert  ... 
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Gustav Leonhardt,  Ton Koopman,  Jaap Schröder  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus,  Chorus Viennensis,  Vienna Boys' Choir  ... 
    CD: $398.99
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  • 52.
    Air - The Bach Album / Meyers, Mercurio, English Chamber Orchestra
    Label: eOne   Catalog: 7785 Release Date: 02/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Charles Gounod
    Performer:  Anne Akiko Meyers
    Conductor:  Steven Mercurio
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
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  • 53.
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: 476 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ernest Chausson
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh
    Conductor:  Fritz Rieger,  Franz Konwitschny,  Kiril Kondrashin
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  • 54.
    Label: Pan Classics   Catalog: 10277 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Gunar Letzbor
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ars Antiqua Austria
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  • 55.
    Bach & Schnittke
    Label: Quartz Records   Catalog: 2083 Release Date: 07/12/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alfred Schnittke,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Dmitri Bulgakov,  Maria Alikhanova,  Fyodor Stroganov
    Conductor:  Misha Rachlevsky
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  • 56.
    Johann Sebastian Bach: Violin Concertos Bwv 1041 & 1042; Concerto For 2 Violins Bwv 1043
    Label: Cascavelle   Catalog: 3121 Release Date: 06/14/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Pierre Amoyal,  Tedi Papavrami,  Maurice Bourgue
    Conductor:  Pierre Amoyal
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Camerata de Lausanne
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  • 57.
    The Heifetz Collection Vol 6 - 1946-1947
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 61737 Release Date: 04/20/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco,  Maurice Ravel,  Nikolai Medtner  ... 
    Performer:  Jascha Heifetz,  Emanuel Bay,  Stanley Chaloupka
    Conductor:  Franz Waxman,  William Steinberg,  Sir Malcolm Sargent
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Chamber Orchestra,  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 58.
    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Orchestral Suites, Concertos / Pinnock [8-CD Collector's Edition]
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 001538502 Release Date: 04/19/2011   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Trevor Pinnock,  Lisa Beznosiuk,  Simon Standage,  Rachel Beckett  ... 
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert
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  • 59.
    Bach: Violin Concertos / Francescatti, Baumgartner, Lucerne Festival Strings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 429151 Release Date: 04/05/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Zino Francescatti,  Régis Pasquier
    Conductor:  Rudolf Baumgartner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lucerne Festival Strings
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  • 60.
    Bach: Violin Concertos / Perlman, Zukerman, Barenboim, English Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 18700 Release Date: 03/08/2011   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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  • 61.
    Bach, Mozart, Brahms: Violin Concertos / David Oistrakh
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5012 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  David Oistrakh
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis,  Kiril Kondrashin,  Yehudi Menuhin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 62.
    Bach: Integrale Concerts Plusieurs / Cafe Zimmerman
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 811 Release Date: 01/10/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Café Zimmermann
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  • 63.
    Bach: Concertos, Brandenburg Concertos / London Conchord Ensemble
    Label: Champs Hill Records   Catalog: 14 Release Date: 11/16/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Florian Uhlig
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Conchord Ensemble
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  • 64.
    Bach: Violin Concerti / Elmar  Bach: Violin Concerti, Arco Ensemble
    Label: Artek   Catalog: 54 Release Date: 09/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Elmar Oliveira,  Eva Gruesser
    Conductor:  Elmar Oliveira
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arco Ensemble
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  • 65.
    Bach & Beyond / Suzuki, Bach Collegium Japan
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 903639 Release Date: 08/01/2010   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi,  Heinrich Schütz,  Johann Rudolf Ahle,  Dietrich Buxtehude  ... 
    Performer:  Yoshie Hida,  Stephan Macleod,  Mutsumi Hatano,  Yoshitaka Ogasawara  ... 
    Conductor:  Masaaki Suzuki
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bach Collegium Japan,  Concerto Palatino members,  Concerto Palatino
    CD: $87.49
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  • 66.
    50 Best Bach
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 57496 Release Date: 06/29/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Richard Boothby,  Peter Kooy,  Christoph Prégardien,  Catherine Patriasz  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Philip Ledger,  Wolfgang Gönnenwein,  Andrew Parrott,  Philippe Herreweghe  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Consortium Musicum,  Taverner Players,  La Petite Bande  ... 
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  • 67.
    Essential Highlights Of Pekka Kuusisto
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 254-2 Release Date: 04/27/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi
    Performer:  Jaakko Kuusisto,  Pekka Kuusisto
    Conductor:  Pekka Kuusisto
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tapiola Sinfonietta,  Virtuosi di Kuhmo
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  • 68.
    Bach, Telemann, Vivaldi, Bottesini: Double Concertos For Strings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 4683285 Release Date: 04/26/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Giovanni Bottesini
    Performer:  Erkki Rautio,  Laura Vihreapuu,  Marko Ylönen,  Réka Szilvay  ... 
    Conductor:  Csaba Szilvay,  Géza Szilvay
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  • 69.
    Bach: Violin Concertos, Orchestral Suites / Menuhin
    Label: Emi Seraphim   Catalog: 68517 Release Date: 10/26/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Christian Ferras,  Leon Goossens
    Conductor:  Yehudi Menuhin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bath Festival Orchestra
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  • 70.
    Bach: Violin Concertos / Jonathan Rees
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 91453 Release Date: 09/14/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach
    Performer:  Sally Heath,  Jonathan Rees,  Jane Murdoch,  Caroline Dale
    Conductor:  Jonathan Rees
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Ensemble
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  • 71.
    Bach: Violin Concertos / Wallfisch, King's Consort
    Label: Helios   Catalog: 55347 Release Date: 08/11/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Catherine Mackintosh,  Elizabeth Wallfisch,  Paul Goodwin
    Conductor:  Robert King
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Consort
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  • 72.
    Three Violinists Play Bach
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 7043 Release Date: 06/09/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Devy Erlih,  H. Merckel,  Kurt Kalmus,  Reinhold Barchet
    Conductor:  Kurt Redel
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  • 73.
    The Great Violin Concertos / Yehudi Menuhin
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 64198 Release Date: 04/21/2009   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Edouard Lalo  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Cocker,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Christian Ferras,  William Bennett  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Lysy,  Jerzy Maksymiuk,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Efrem Kurtz  ... 
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  • 74.
    Bach: Violin Concertos / Julia Fischer, ASMF
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001249002 Release Date: 01/27/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Julia Fischer,  Alexander Sitkovetsky,  Andrey Rubtsov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 75.
    Gemini - Bach: Brandenburg & Violin Concertos / Menuhin, Bath Festival Orchestra
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 17617 Release Date: 11/11/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Janet Craxton,  Christopher Taylor,  Dennis Clift  ... 
    Conductor:  Yehudi Menuhin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bath Festival Orchestra
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