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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Baroque Collection - Handel, Vivaldi, Bach, Pachelbel, Et Al
Release Date: 09/29/1992   Label: Emi Classics  
Catalog: 67425   Number of Discs: 2
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Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Violin Concertos / Rees, Scottish Ensemble
Release Date: 05/05/1998   Label: Virgin Classics Veritas  
Catalog: 61403   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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Bach: Orchestral Suites / Pinnock
Release Date: 05/08/2007   Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)  
Catalog: 000872302   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988

Browse 26-50 of 228 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Glenn Gould Plays Bach
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 197504 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Glenn Gould
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  • 27.
    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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  • 28.
    Bach: Goldberg Variations  / Minsoo Sohn
    Label: Honens   Catalog: 201104 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Min Soo Sohn
    CD: $14.99
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  • 29.
    Bach: Goldberg Variations / Maria Yudina
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1001874 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Maria Yudina
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  • 30.
    Bach: Goldberg Variations / 	Luca Guglielmi
    Label: Stradivarius   Catalog: 33925 Release Date: 08/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Luca Guglielmi
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  • 31.
    Bach: Goldberg Variations
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001702002 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Andrei Gavrilov
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  • 32.
    Bach: Goldberg Variations / Ohnishi
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9357 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Takae Ohnishi
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  • 33.
    Bach: Goldberg Variations / Yuan Sheng
    Label: Piano Classics   Catalog: 42 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Yuan Sheng
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  • 34.
    Bach: Goldberg Variations / Janne Rattya
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 1209-2 Release Date: 06/26/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Janne Rattya
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  • 35.
    Bach: Goldberg Variations / Kato
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 3202 Release Date: 06/19/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Sachiko Kato
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  • 36.
    Glenn Gould Plays Bach
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7683932 Release Date: 06/12/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Glenn Gould
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  • 37.
    Gustav Leonhardt Plays Bach
    Label: Dhm Deutsche Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 1953072 Release Date: 05/15/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt,  Sigiswald Kuijken
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  • 38.
    Bach: Goldberg Variations
    Label: La Dolce Volta   Catalog: 1 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Frederick Haas
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  • 39.
    Bach: Goldberg Variations
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 02319 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Alexis Weissenberg
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  • 40.
    Gustav Leonhardt Edition
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 731897 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Anthony Newman,  Elias Nikolaus Ammerbach,  Master John Taylor,  John Blitheman  ... 
    Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt,  Frans Brüggen,  Anner Bylsma,  Wieland Kuijken  ... 
    Conductor:  Gustav Leonhardt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leonhardt Consort
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  • 41.
    Bach: Goldberg Variations / Picht-Axenfeld
    Label: Camerata Records   Catalog: 15122 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Edith Picht-Axenfeld
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  • 42.
    Bach: Goldberg Variations / Zhu Xiao-Mei
    Label: Mirare   Catalog: 48 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Zhu Xiao-Mei
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  • 43.
    Bach: Goldberg Variations / David Jalbert
    Label: Atma Classique   Catalog: 2557 Release Date: 03/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  David Jalbert
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  • 44.
    Daniel Barenboim Plays Bach Goldberg Variations
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2066778 Release Date: 03/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim
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  • 45.
    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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  • 46.
    Wilhelm Kempff - Solo Piano Recordings [35-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001648902 Release Date: 03/20/2012   Number of Discs: 35
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Christoph W. Gluck,  George Frideric Handel,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff
    CD: $129.99
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  • 47.
    Bach: Goldberg Variations / Alexander Gurning
    Label: Avanti Classic   Catalog: 1037 Release Date: 02/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Alexandre Gurning
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  • 48.
    Bach: Goldberg Variations / Franns Von Promnitzau
    Label: Cavi Music   Catalog: 7771051 Release Date: 02/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Franns Von Promnitzau
    On sale! $17.98
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  • 49.
    Label: Bayer Records   Catalog: BR100326 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Burkard Schliessmann
    SuperAudio CD: $29.99
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  • 50.
    Bach: The Goldberg Variations BWV 988 / Colin Noble
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 3135 Release Date: 11/22/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Colin Noble
    CD: $17.99
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