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: Transcriptions of Concertos by Vivaldi & Marcello / Sophie Yates
Release Date: 05/28/2013   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 796   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: Lutheran Masses / Rilling
Release Date: 05/27/2008   Label: Profil  
Catalog: 7027   Number of Discs: 2
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Bach: Six Trio Sonatas / Tempesta di Mare Chamber Players
Release Date: 06/24/2014   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 803   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Original Works And Transcriptions By Franz Liszt / Schmidt
Release Date: 05/31/2011   Label: Profil  
Catalog: 11025   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1: Prelude

Browse 76-100 of 103 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    Baroque Favorites / Tafelmusik, Helicon Ensemble
    Label: Reference Recordings   Catalog: 2101 Release Date: 06/05/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Henry Purcell  ... 
    Performer:  Albert Fuller,  Linda Quan,  Stanley Ritchie,  Jaap Schröder  ... 
    Conductor:  Albert Fuller,  Jeanne Lamon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Helicon,  Tafelmusik
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  • 77.
    Aromatherapy 02 - The Romantic Bach
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4666992 Release Date: 04/30/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  András Schiff,  Carl Pini,  Granville Jones,  Tess Miller  ... 
    Conductor:  Thurston Dart,  András Schiff,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Raymond Agoult  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philomusica of London,  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
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  • 78.
    Jacques Loussier Play Bach
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 157561 Release Date: 04/24/2001  
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Jacques Loussier,  Pierre Michelot,  Christian Garros
    CD: $12.99
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  • 79.
    Famous Works For Harpsichord - Couperin, Et Al / Beauséjour
    Label: Analekta   Catalog: 23121 Release Date: 01/30/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Pietro Domenico Paradies,  Johann Caspar Fischer,  Domenico Scarlatti  ... 
    Performer:  Luc Beauséjour
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  • 80.
    The Ultimate 2001 Album
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 461713 Release Date: 01/09/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Richard Wagner,  John Williams,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Rosalyn Tureck,  Nathan Milstein,  Karin Ott
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Sir Georg Solti,  Zubin Mehta,  Aram Khachaturian
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD not available
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  • 81.
    Edition Bachakademie Vol 136 - Anna Magdalena Clavier Book
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 92136 Release Date: 07/25/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gottfried H. Stölzel
    Performer:  Michael Behringer,  Sibylla Rubens,  Johannes Happel
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  • 82.
    Essential Bach
    Label: London/Decca Double Decker   Catalog: 466465 Release Date: 06/13/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Raymond Leppard,  András Schiff,  Alicia De Larrocha,  José Luis Garcia  ... 
    Conductor:  Raymond Leppard,  Raymond Agoult,  András Schiff,  Seiji Ozawa  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  New Symphony Orchestra,  Chamber Orchestra of Europe  ... 
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  • 83.
    Edition Bachakademie Vol 137 - Klavierbüchlein For W. F. Bach
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 92137 Release Date: 10/19/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Joseph Payne
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  • 84.
    Baby Needs Bach / Orbelian, Galbraith, Rosenberger, Et Al
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 1613 Release Date: 09/14/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Paul Galbraith,  Tatiana Zavarskaya,  Anthony Newman,  Eugenia Zukerman  ... 
    Conductor:  Constantine Orbelian
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Chamber Orchestra,  Shanghai String Quartet,  Los Angeles Guitar Quartet
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  • 85.
    Glenn Gould At The Movies - Slaughterhouse Five, Etc
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 66531 Release Date: 09/14/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Alexander Scriabin,  Jean Sibelius,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Glenn Gould,  Charles Libove
    Conductor:  Vladimir Golschmann,  Pablo Casals
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Marlboro Festival Orchestra
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  • 86.
    Bach For Babies - Fun And Games For Budding Brains
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 462949 Release Date: 04/13/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gottfried H. Stölzel,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Celedonio Romero,  Maria Graf,  Irena Grafenauer  ... 
    Conductor:  Barry Rose,  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Canadian Brass
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  • 87.
    Bronika Kushkuley In Concert - Bach, Beethoven, Et Al
    Label: Eroica Classical Recordings   Catalog: 3012 Release Date: 09/01/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Frédéric Chopin,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Bronika Kushkuley
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  • 88.
    The Book Lover's Companion - Bach, Beethoven, Brahms
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 462773 Release Date: 09/01/1998   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Jean Louis Steuerman,  Herbert Stähr,  Werner Haas,  George Pieterson  ... 
    Conductor:  James Judd,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Edo De Waart
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Berlin Philharmonic Octet members  ... 
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  • 89.
    The Complete Wedding Album - There Is Love
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80490 Release Date: 04/28/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Richard Wagner,  Samuel Barber,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Performer:  Angel Romero,  Joseph Silverstein,  Larry Cooperman,  Michael Chertock  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert Shaw,  Erich Kunzel,  Leonard Slatkin,  Keith Clark  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlanta Symphony Chorus,  Atlanta Symphony Orchestra,  Cincinnati Pops  ... 
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  • 90.
    Chip Davis' Holiday Musik Vol 2 / Roth, Berkey, Layton, Et Al
    Label: American Gramaphone   Catalog: 297 Release Date: 09/17/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Willem De Fesch,  Johann Christoph Pez,  Samuel Scheidt  ... 
    Performer:  Stephen Alltop,  Roxanne Layton,  Jackson Berkey,  Arnie Roth  ... 
    Conductor:  Arnie Roth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Anima
    CD: $12.99
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  • 91.
    Bach For Book Lovers
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 456497 Release Date: 06/10/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Friedrich Gulda,  János Scholz,  Maria Teresa Garatti,  Jean Louis Steuerman  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Edo De Waart,  James Judd
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 92.
    Night Tracks
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 34703 Release Date: 10/29/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Patrick Cassidy,  René Eespere,  Wojciech Kilar  ... 
    Performer:  Emmanuel Lawler,  Mary Clarke,  Ian Watson,  Elisabeth Leonskaja  ... 
    Conductor:  Philip Simms,  Harry Rabinowitz,  Hugh Wolff,  Lawrence Foster  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Anuna,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Tallis Chamber Choir  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 93.
    Baroque Piano - Greatest Hits
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 68455 Release Date: 08/22/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Domenico Scarlatti,  Louis-Claude Daquin  ... 
    Performer:  Glenn Gould,  Philippe Entremont,  André Watts,  Charles Rosen  ... 
    Conductor:  Vladimir Golschmann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $8.99
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  • 94.
    Classical Kids - Mr. Bach Comes To Call
    Label: Children's Group   Catalog: 84235 Release Date: 04/11/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gottfried H. Stölzel,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Suzanne Shulman,  Douglas Bodle,  Susan Hammond,  Adele Armin
    Conductor:  Walter Babiak
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toronto Boys' Choir,  Studio Arts Orchestra
    CD: $14.99
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  • 95.
    A New Baroque - Pachelbel's Canon / Yolanda Kondonassis
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80403 Release Date: 11/08/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Domenico Scarlatti,  Johann Pachelbel  ... 
    Performer:  Yolanda Kondonassis
    CD: $11.99
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  • 96.
    Bach - Greatest Hits
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 64051 Release Date: 08/09/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gottfried H. Stölzel
    Performer:  Igor Kipnis,  Nicholas Danby,  Alexander Schreiner,  Frank Asper  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Eugene Ormandy,  Richard P. Condie,  Raymond Leppard  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London String Players,  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Mormon Tabernacle Choir  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 97.
    32 Short Films About Glenn Gould - Motion Picture Soundtrack
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 46686 Release Date: 03/22/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Arnold Schoenberg,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Paul Hindemith  ... 
    Performer:  Glenn Gould
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $6.99
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  • 98.
    Christopher Parkening - The Great Recordings
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 54905 Release Date: 09/14/1993   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Joseph Brackett,  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Christopher Parkening,  David Brandon
    Conductor:  Andrew Litton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 99.
    My First Recital / Ruth Laredo
    Label: Ess.a.y Recordings   Catalog: 1006 Release Date: 07/15/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Robert Schumann,  Claude Debussy,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Ruth Laredo
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  • 100.
    Schroeder's Greatest Hits
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 61240 Release Date: 09/08/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Vince Guaraldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Nelly Kokinos,  Ronnie Zito,  John Miller,  Ken Bichel
    CD: $8.99
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