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: 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 / Joshua Bell
Release Date: 09/30/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 308779   Number of Discs: 1
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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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Bach: The Art Of Fugue / Angela Hewitt
Release Date: 10/14/2014   Label: Hyperion  
Catalog: 67980   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Orchestral Works & Concertos / Kuijken, La Petite Bande [5-CD Set]
Release Date: 03/25/2014   Label: Dhm Deutsche Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 7683852   Number of Discs: 5
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Work: Concerto for 2 Violins in D minor, BWV 1043

Browse 51-75 of 175 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    Bach: Concertos For Violin / Bezzina, Corolla, Ensemble Baroque De Nice
    Label: Ligia   Catalog: 301175 Release Date: 12/14/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi
    Performer:  Gilbert Bezzina,  Laura Corolla
    Conductor:  Gilbert Bezzina
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Baroque De Nice
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  • 52.
    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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  • 53.
    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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  • 54.
    Bach: Violin Concerti / Elmar  Bach: Violin Concerti, Arco Ensemble
    Label: Artek   Catalog: 54-2 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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  • 55.
    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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  • 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, Telemann, Vivaldi, Bottesini: Double Concertos For Strings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 4683285 Release Date: 04/26/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Giovanni Bottesini,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Georg Philipp Telemann
    Performer:  Erkki Rautio,  Marko Ylönen,  Laura Vihreapuu,  Tuomo Savolainen  ... 
    Conductor:  Csaba Szilvay,  Géza Szilvay
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  • 58.
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 6290572 Release Date: 04/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Nigel Kennedy,  Albrecht Mayer,  Daniel Stabrawa
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  • 59.
    111 Years Of Deutsche Grammophon [55-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001341002 Release Date: 10/20/2009   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Franz Schubert,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Krystian Zimerman,  Fritz Wunderlich,  Hubert Giesen,  Helmut Walcha  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa,  Daniele Callegari,  Herbert von Karajan,  Karl Richter  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan,  Verdi Chorus Milan  ... 
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  • 60.
    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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  • 61.
    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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  • 62.
    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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  • 63.
    Yehudi Menuhin - The Great EMI Recordings
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64131 Release Date: 04/21/2009   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Lili Boulanger,  Ernest Bloch,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Ferguson Webster,  Derek Simpson,  Robert Masters  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  John Pritchard,  George Enescu,  Sir William Walton  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Colonne Concerts Orchestra  ... 
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  • 64.
    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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  • 65.
    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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  • 66.
    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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  • 67.
    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
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  • 68.
    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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  • 69.
    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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  • 70.
    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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  • 71.
    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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  • 72.
    The Very Best of Anne-Sophie Mutter / Karajan, Muti, Ozawa, Mutter
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 7634 Release Date: 06/24/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Pablo de Sarasate,  Jules Massenet,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Leslie Pearson,  Salvatore Accardo,  Rudolf Scholz  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa,  Herbert von Karajan,  Salvatore Accardo,  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 73.
    Bach: Concertos / Vladimir Spivakov, Moscow Virtuosi
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 7991 Release Date: 06/10/2008   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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  • 74.
    J.s. Bach: Obenwerke, Vol. 2
    Label: Caro Mitis   Catalog: 0032003 Release Date: 06/03/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Alexei Utkin
    Conductor:  Alexei Utkin
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  • 75.
    Bach: Violin Concertos / Huggett, Bury, Koopman
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 759073 Release Date: 03/11/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Monica Huggett,  Alison Bury
    Conductor:  Ton Koopman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra
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