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 & Telemann / Crowe, Florilegium
Release Date: 11/11/2008   Label: Channel Classics  
Catalog: 27208   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: The Art of Fugue / Les Voix Humaines
Release Date: 05/28/2013   Label: Atma Classique  
Catalog: 2645   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Florilegium
Release Date: 12/09/2014   Label: Channel Classics  
Catalog: 35914   Number of Discs: 2
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J.S. Bach: Double & Triple Concertos / Podger, Bellamy, Pramsohler, Brecon Baroque
Release Date: 06/11/2013   Label: Channel Classics  
Catalog: 34113   Number of Discs: 1
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J. S. Bach Arranged for Guitars
Release Date: 11/12/2013   Label: Channel Classics  
Catalog: 34713   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Concerto for 2 Violins in D minor, BWV 1043

Browse 51-75 of 123 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    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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  • 52.
    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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  • 53.
    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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  • 54.
    Yehudi Menuhin, George Enescu Perform Mendelssohn, Dvorak, Wieniawki, Bach
    Label: Dutton Laboratories/Vocalion   Catalog: 1916 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Henri Wieniawski,  Antonín Dvorák,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  George Enescu
    Conductor:  George Enescu,  Pierre Monteux
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Colonne Concerts Orchestra,  Paris Conservatoire Orchestra,  Paris Symphony Orchestra
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  • 55.
    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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  • 56.
    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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  • 57.
    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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  • 58.
    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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  • 59.
    Bach, Vivaldi: Double Concertos / Zukerman, Midori
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 416389 Release Date: 02/18/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi
    Performer:  Midori,  Pinchas Zukerman
    Conductor:  Pinchas Zukerman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
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  • 60.
    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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  • 61.
    Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart, Leclair, Kodaly, Meyer: Violin Concertos / David Oistrakh
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 184612 Release Date: 10/14/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ernst Hermann Meyer,  Zoltán Kodály,  Jean-Marie Leclair,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Naum Walter,  Igor Oistrakh
    Conductor:  Otmar Suitner,  Franz Konwitschny
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
    CD: $22.49
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  • 62.
    Bach: Oboenwerke Vol 2 / Utkin, Hermitage Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Caro Mitis   Catalog: 32003 Release Date: 10/14/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Alexei Utkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hermitage Chamber Orchestra
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  • 63.
    The Great Violinists Vol 24 - Arnold Rosé
    Label: Symposium   Catalog: 1371 Release Date: 10/14/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  David Popper,  Johannes Brahms,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Arnold Rosé,  Alma Rosé
    Conductor:  Alfred Rose
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra
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  • 64.
    Bach: Double Concertos / Hogwood, Rousset, Schrader, Academy Of Ancient Music
    Label: L'oiseau Lyre   Catalog: 421500 Release Date: 09/30/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Stephen Hammer,  Catherine Mackintosh,  David Schrader,  Christophe Rousset  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music
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  • 65.
    Bach: Violin Concertos;  Vivaldi: Concerto Per Viola D'amore
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 427114 Release Date: 09/30/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi
    Performer:  Eduard Melkus,  Spiros Rantos,  Konrad Ragossnig
    Conductor:  Eduard Melkus
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Academica
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  • 66.
    Bach: Concertos / Vladimir Spivakov, Moscow Virtuosi
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 7991 Release Date: 05/29/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Alexei Utkin,  Vladimir Spivakov,  Elena Duran,  Sergei Bezrodny  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra
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  • 67.
    Vivaldi: Four Seasons;  Bach / Sporcl, Prague Philharmonia
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: 3931 Release Date: 02/26/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi
    Performer:  Pavel Sporcl
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonia
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  • 68.
    Bach: Violin Concertos / Zukerman, English Co
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 60718 Release Date: 08/30/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Pinchas Zukerman,  José Luis Garcia
    Conductor:  Pinchas Zukerman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
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  • 69.
    The Huberman Festival / Mehta, Zukerman, Stern, Perlman
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4250 Release Date: 06/26/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johan Halvorsen  ... 
    Performer:  Pinchas Zukerman,  Daniel Benyamini,  Shlomo Mintz,  Isaac Stern  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 70.
    Bach, Mozart, Brahms: Violin Concertos / Jascha Heifetz
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 704605 Release Date: 01/23/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Gregor Piatigorsky,  Jascha Heifetz,  William Primrose,  Thornton Lofthouse  ... 
    Conductor:  Alfred Wallenstein,  Izler Solomon,  Sir Malcolm Sargent
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,  New Symphony Orchestra
    SuperAudio CD: $11.99
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  • 71.
    Ultimate Bach - The Essential Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000765902 Release Date: 11/14/2006   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Arthur Grumiaux,  Herman Krebbers,  Heinz Holliger,  András Schiff  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Arpád Gerecz,  Edo De Waart
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 72.
    Baby Got Bach / Lumiere String Quartet
    Label: Lumiere Records   Catalog: 5637381127 Release Date: 08/22/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Sato Moughalian
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lumiere String Quartet
    CD: $17.99
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  • 73.
    Bach: Violin Concertos / Karl Suske, Giorgio Krohner
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 1371 Release Date: 08/22/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Karl Suske,  Giorgio Kröhner
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
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  • 74.
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: 294 Release Date: 07/25/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Adolf Busch,  Frances Magnes,  Rudolf Serkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Adolf Busch Chamber Players
    CD: $9.99
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  • 75.
    Bach: Violin Concertos, Partita No 2 / Heifetz, Et Al
    Label: Idi   Catalog: 6435 Release Date: 11/04/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Jascha Heifetz
    Conductor:  Franz Waxman,  Alfred Wallenstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Chamber Orchestra,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
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