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: Partitas / Igor Levit
Release Date: 08/25/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 307630   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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Glenn Gould Plays Bach
Release Date: 06/12/2012   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 683932   Number of Discs: 6
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Bach: Toccata & Fugue; Thalben-Ball, Boellmann / James Parsons
Release Date: 10/12/2010   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28580   Number of Discs: 1
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Vivaldi: Four Seasons; Pachelbel, Bach / Carney, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Release Date: 03/10/2009   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28090   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1: Prelude

Browse 51-75 of 103 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    J.s. Bach: Partita No. 3, Bwv 1006 ; Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring
    Label: Nalu Music   Catalog: 64032 Release Date: 08/30/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
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  • 52.
    Best Piano Classics 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 70886 Release Date: 08/29/2006   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Aldo Ciccolini,  John Ogdon,  Stanislav Bunin,  Moura Lympany  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  Simon Rattle,  Riccardo Muti,  George Szell  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Borodin String Quartet members,  Montreal Symphony Orchestra,  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 53.
    The #1 Baroque Album
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000660302 Release Date: 08/08/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  George Frideric Handel,  Pier Francesco Cavalli,  Henry Purcell  ... 
    Performer:  Emma Kirkby,  Andreas Scholl,  Barbara Bonney,  András Schiff  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood,  John Eliot Gardiner,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Roger Norrington  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir  ... 
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  • 54.
    The #1 Baroque Album
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4757492 Release Date: 07/03/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Henry Purcell,  Gregorio Allegri,  Giovanni Battista Pergolesi  ... 
    Performer:  Barbara Bonney,  Alastair Hussain,  Andreas Scholl,  Eduardo Fernandez  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood,  Stephen Cleobury,  Christophe Rousset,  George Malcolm  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Les Talens Lyriques  ... 
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  • 55.
    Pianorama - Cinematic Music / Roland Pöntinen
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1326 Release Date: 06/27/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nino Rota,  Gioachino Rossini,  Frédéric Chopin,  Leos Janácek  ... 
    Performer:  Roland Pöntinen
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  • 56.
    The Best Baroque Album In The World...ever!
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 54468 Release Date: 04/04/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Henry Purcell,  George Frideric Handel,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  George Malcolm,  Wayne Marshall,  Anthony Bailes,  Bob van Asperen  ... 
    Conductor:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Sir Philip Ledger,  Wolfgang Gönnenwein,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Menuhin Festival Orchestra,  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble  ... 
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  • 57.
    The Most Relaxing Bach Album In The World...ever!
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 53359 Release Date: 03/21/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Stanislav Bunin,  Andrei Gavrilov,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Christian Ferras  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Leopold Stokowski,  Richard Stamp  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Bath Festival Orchestra,  Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 58.
    The Art Of Laurindo Almeida
    Label: Marquis   Catalog: 83101 Release Date: 01/24/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Vincenzo Galilei
    Performer:  Laurindo Almeida
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  • 59.
    The Most Relaxing Guitar Album In The World...ever!
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 46809 Release Date: 10/04/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Antonio Carlos Jobim,  Sir William Walton,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Christopher Parkening,  Sharon Isbin,  Manuel Barrueco,  Pierre Laniau  ... 
    Conductor:  Andrew Litton,  Jeremy Lubbock,  Lawrence Foster
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Lausanne Chamber Orchestra
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  • 60.
    Anna Magdalena Bach Notebook / Stolte, Collum, Leib
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 3232 Release Date: 10/01/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Herbert Collum,  Günther Leib,  Adele Stolte
    CD: $14.99
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  • 61.
    Harp Adagios
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000518402 Release Date: 09/13/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Rosetti,  Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco,  Arvo Pärt,  Nino Rota  ... 
    Performer:  Naoko Yoshino,  Catherine Michel,  Gidon Kremer,  Marisa Robles  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonio de Almeida,  Iona Brown,  Richard Bonynge,  Marcel Couraud  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monte Carlo Opera Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 62.
    50 Most Loved Piano Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 34410 Release Date: 08/30/2005   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Maurice Ravel,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Schubert  ... 
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  • 63.
    Breathe - The Relaxing Piano
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80652 Release Date: 08/23/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Andrew Lloyd Webber,  Ennio Morricone,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Chertock,  André Arpino,  Vincent Charbonnier,  Jacques Loussier  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras,  David Zinman,  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Jacques Loussier Trio,  Scottish Chamber Orchestra,  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 64.
    Breathe - The Relaxing Guitar
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80512 Release Date: 02/22/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Maxwell Davies,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Sting,  Joaquin Rodrigo  ... 
    Performer:  David Russell,  Angel Romero,  William Kanengiser,  Scott Tennant  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Kunzel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Guitar Quartet,  Naples Philharmonic Florida
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  • 65.
    Chill With Bach
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8556786 Release Date: 07/20/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Charles Gounod
    Performer:  Hae-Won Chang,  Alexander Rudin,  Lucy Van Dael,  Bob van Asperen  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert Stankovsky,  Helmut Müller-Brühl,  Jeremy Summerly,  Géza Oberfrank  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Camerata Cassovia,  Cologne Chamber Orchestra,  Schola Cantorum Oxford  ... 
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  • 66.
    The Best Of Play Bach / Jacques Loussier Trio
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 63590 Release Date: 02/24/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Jacques Loussier Trio
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  • 67.
    Crossing The Stone / Catrin Finch
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 87320 Release Date: 08/12/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Chick Corea,  Karl Jenkins,  Traditional,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Catrin Finch,  Paul Clarvis,  Laurence Cottle,  Jody K. Jenkins  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Jenkins
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Choir,  Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 68.
    Princely Gifts - Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Et Al / Estrin
    Label: Connoisseur Society   Catalog: 4240 Release Date: 08/01/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach,  Muzio Clementi,  Hugo Reinhold,  Albert Ellmenreich  ... 
    Performer:  Morton Estrin
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  • 69.
    The Classical Child - Early To Bed
    Label: Sophia Sounds   Catalog: 107 Release Date: 08/01/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  John Parry,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Everett Taylor,  Ernest Mavrides,  James Batty,  Martin Weimer  ... 
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  • 70.
    Bronika Kushkuley, In Concert
    Label: Eroica Classical Recordings   Catalog: 3058 Release Date: 07/15/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Frédéric Chopin,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Bronika Kushkuley
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  • 71.
    Classics - Angel Romero Plays Bach
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80288 Release Date: 06/25/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Angel Romero
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  • 72.
    Baby Needs Guitar - Classical Guitar For Little Ears
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 1620 Release Date: 03/12/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Antonio Carlos Gomes,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Andrew York,  Scott Tennant,  John Dearman,  William Kanengiser  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Guitar Quartet,  Brazilian Guitar Quartet
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  • 73.
    The Best Of Bach
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80591 Release Date: 11/27/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Patricia Maybe,  Michael Murray,  Vincent Charbonnier,  Jacques Loussier  ... 
    Conductor:  Keith Clark,  Martin Pearlman,  Robert Shaw,  Jahja Ling  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Concerts du Monde,  Jacques Loussier Trio,  Boston Baroque  ... 
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  • 74.
    Archguitar Baroque / Peter Blanchette, Peter Michelini
    Label: Sono Luminus   Catalog: 93241 Release Date: 10/02/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Domenico Scarlatti,  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Peter Blanchette,  Peter Michelini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Archguitar Duo
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  • 75.
    Bach To Bach / Julia Shaw, Nora Bumanis
    Label: Cbc Musica Viva   Catalog: 1139 Release Date: 07/17/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Julia Shaw,  Nora Bumanis
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