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: Sinfonias / Dantone, Accademia Bizantina
Release Date: 11/01/2011   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 001613002   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Secular Cantatas Vol  4 - Academic Cantatas  / Suzuki, Bach Collegium Japan
Release Date: 07/08/2014   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 2001   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Secular Cantatas Vol 3 / Suzuki, Bach Collegium Japan
Release Date: 05/28/2013   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 2041   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Cantatas Vol 55 - Nos 30, 69, 191 / Suzuki, Bach Collegium Japan
Release Date: 11/19/2013   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 2031   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Cantatas, Vol. 52 / Suzuki, Kooij, Turk, Blaze, Blažikova, Bach Collegium Japan
Release Date: 12/18/2012   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 1981   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Concerto for Violin no 2 in E major, BWV 1042

Browse 1-25 of 172 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Bach / Batiashvili, Leleux, Pahud, Klinger, Kofler, Szulc
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002133702 Release Date: 09/16/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach
    Performer:  Lisa Batiashvili,  François Leleux,  Emmanuel Pahud,  Peter Kofler
    Conductor:  Radoslaw Szulc
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Chamber Orchestra
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  • 2.
    Bach: Complete Edition
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 1116165 Release Date: 09/02/2014   Number of Discs: 142
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Remy Baudet,  Theunis Van der Zwart,  Erwin Wieringa,  Pieter-Jan Belder  ... 
    Conductor:  Pieter-Jan Belder,  Ludwig Güttler,  Thomas Zehetmair,  Kurt Masur  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Amphion,  Virtuosi Saxoniae,  Amsterdam Bach Soloists  ... 
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  • 3.
    Distant Light -  Bach, Vasks: Violin Concertos / Renaud Capucon
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 632322 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Peteris Vasks
    Performer:  Renaud Capuçon
    Conductor:  Renaud Capuçon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe
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  • 4.
    Johanna Martzy, Vol. 3
    Label: Doremi Records   Catalog: 8034 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Johanna Martzy
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  • 5.
    Icon: The Early Years - Yehudi Menuhin
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 928129 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Marius Casadesus,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  George Enescu,  Hephzibah Menuhin,  Hubert Giesen  ... 
    Conductor:  George Enescu,  Pierre Monteux,  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris,  Orchestre de Paris  ... 
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  • 6.
    Itzhak Perlman - 5 Classic Albums
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 939025 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Pablo de Sarasate,  Manuel de Falla,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Samuel Sanders
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim,  Lawrence Foster,  André Previn,  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 7.
    Bach Masterworks - The Original Jackets Collection
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001929902 Release Date: 12/10/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Hertha Töpper,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Maria Stader,  Ernst Haefliger  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Richter,  John Eliot Gardiner,  Rainer Kussmaul,  Reinhard Goebel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Bach Orchestra,  Munich Bach Choir,  English Baroque Soloists  ... 
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  • 8.
    The Art Of Erica Morini -  Westminster / American Decca Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 40044 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Giuseppe Tartini,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Erica Morini,  Leon Pommers,  Walter Trampler,  Felix Galimir  ... 
    Conductor:  Artur Rodzinski,  Nicholas Harsanyi,  Frederic Waldman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Princeton Chamber Orchestra,  Musica Aeterna
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  • 9.
    Bach: Concertos / Janine Jansen
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001930102 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Jan Jansen,  Nimrod Guez,  Monika Urbonaite,  Tijmen Huisingh  ... 
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  • 10.
    Portrait / Amandine Beyer
    Label: Zig Zag   Catalog: 325 Release Date: 07/30/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Nicola Matteis,  Jean-Féry Rebel,  Robert de Visée,  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Amandine Beyer,  Pascal Monteilhet,  Marianne Muller [Viola da Gamba],  Edna Stern
    Conductor:  Amandine Beyer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gli Incogniti,  L'Assemblée des Honnestes Curieux
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  • 11.
    Bach: Violin Concertos
    Label: Hi-q Records   Catalog: 9 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Christian Ferras
    Conductor:  Yehudi Menuhin
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  • 12.
    Bach: Violin Concertos / Zehetmair, Amsterdam Bach Soloists
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94666 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Thomas Zehetmair
    Conductor:  Thomas Zehetmair
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Bach Soloists
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  • 13.
    Bach: Violin Concertos, Double Concertos / Mikhail Gantvarg
    Label: Audiophile Classics   Catalog: 7701834 Release Date: 05/03/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Olga Martinova,  Michail Gantvarg,  Chanjafi Tchinakajev
    Conductor:  Michail Gantvarg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Petersburg Soloists
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  • 14.
    Bach: Complete Orchestral Works / Helmuth Rilling
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98009 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Carol Wincenc,  Christoph Poppen,  Isabelle Faust,  Robert Levin  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra,  Oregon Bach Festival Chamber Orchestra,  Stuttgart Bach Collegium
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  • 15.
    Bach: Violin Concertos,   Concerto For 3 Violins / Mullejans, Von Der Goltz, Schreiber
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 902145 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Gottfried Von der Goltz,  Petra Müllejans,  Anne Katharina Schreiber
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Freiburg Baroque Orchestra
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  • 16.
    Bach: Violin Concertos;  Vivaldi / Laredo, Scottish Co
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1170 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi
    Performer:  Jaime Laredo,  John Tunnell,  Haflidi Hallgrimsson,  Paul Manley
    Conductor:  Jaime Laredo
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
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  • 17.
    Steven Staryk: A Retrospective, Vol. 3 - Bach
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 3211 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Steven Staryk,  Kenneth Gilbert
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink,  Steven Staryk
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  • 18.
    Itzhak Perlman - A Portrait
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 941217 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Max Bruch,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Samuel Sanders,  André Previn
    Conductor:  Itzhak Perlman,  Daniel Barenboim,  Bernard Haitink,  Jean Martinon  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra  ... 
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  • 19.
    Itzhak Perlman - A Portrait [Deluxe Edition - 2 CDs + 2 DVDs]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 941194 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Max Bruch,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Samuel Sanders,  André Previn
    Conductor:  Itzhak Perlman,  Daniel Barenboim,  Bernard Haitink,  Jean Martinon  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra  ... 
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  • 20.
    Bach: Violin Concertos / Eschkenazy, Ogrintchouk, Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186460 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Vesko Eschkenazy,  Alexei Ogrintchouk
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra
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  • 21.
    Szymon Goldberg Vol 2 - Commercial Recordings 1932-1951
    Label: Music & Arts   Catalog: 1225 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Szymon Goldberg,  Gerald Moore,  Anthony Pini,  Lili Kraus  ... 
    Conductor:  Walter Susskind,  Alois Melichar,  Paul Kletzki
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra members  ... 
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  • 22.
    Rachel - The Music I Love /  Rachel Podger
    Label: Channel Classics   Catalog: 6212 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Rachel Podger,  Gary Cooper,  Jane Rogers,  Trevor Pinnock  ... 
    Conductor:  Pavlo Beznosiuk
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arte Dei Suonatori,  Holland Baroque Society,  Brecon Baroque  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 23.
    All-Baroque Box (From Monteverdi To Bach) [50-CD Limited Edition]
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 001719702 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Domenico Scarlatti,  Giovanni Battista Pergolesi  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Harvey,  Stephen Varcoe,  Anthony Rolfe Johnson,  Michael Chance  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner,  Paul McCreesh,  Marc Minkowski,  Trevor Pinnock  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir,  Gabrieli Consort  ... 
    CD: $179.99
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  • 24.
    Daniel Hope - Complete Warner Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 2564660542 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Alban Berg,  Benjamin Britten,  Maurice Ravel,  Manuel de Falla  ... 
    Performer:  Daniel Hope,  Sebastian Knauer,  Gaurav Mazumdar,  Asok Chakraborty  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Watkins,  Maxim Shostakovich,  Roger Norrington
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Camerata Salzburg
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  • 25.
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 636464 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Pinchas Zukerman
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
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