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 & Beyond / Suzuki, Bach Collegium Japan
Release Date: 08/01/2010   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 903639   Number of Discs: 14
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All You Need Is Bach / Carpenter
Release Date: 06/03/2016   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 517826   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Goldberg Variations / Aulos Quartet
Release Date: 06/03/2016   Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)  
Catalog: 9031950   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Goldberg Variations / Gunter
Release Date: 06/10/2016   Label: Genuin Musikproduction  
Catalog: 16435   Number of Discs: 1
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The Bach Gamut Vol 1 / Virgil Fox
Release Date: 07/11/2006   Label: Reference Recordings  
Catalog: 107   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Suite for Orchestra no 2: Badinerie

Browse 26-50 of 93 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Bach Handel 300 / Graziano Mandozzi
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 415110 Release Date: 02/25/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Graziano Mandozzi
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  • 27.
    State Of The Art - The Story Of Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001341102 Release Date: 12/15/2009   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Frédéric Chopin,  Gabriel Fauré,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Rafal Blechacz,  Kathleen Battle,  Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Leonard Bernstein,  Pierre Boulez  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gabrieli Consort,  Andalucian Dogs
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  • 28.
    James Galway - Celebrating 70: A Collection Of Personal Favorites
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 742201 Release Date: 07/28/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  François Joseph Gossec,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  James Galway,  Marisa Robles,  Sarah Cunningham,  Phillip Moll  ... 
    Conductor:  James Galway,  Eduardo Mata,  Charles Gerhardt,  Henry Mancini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti di Zagreb,  London Symphony Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 29.
    Bach Greatest Hits
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 742557 Release Date: 03/24/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gottfried H. Stölzel
    Performer:  Hilary Hahn,  E. Power Biggs,  Andrea Marcon,  Peter Serkin
    Conductor:  Vladimir Spivakov,  Eugene Ormandy,  Esa-Pekka Salonen,  James Galway
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra,  I Solisti di Zagreb  ... 
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  • 30.
    Eternal Bach
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578024 Release Date: 01/27/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Marianne Beate Kielland,  János Sebestyén,  Christine Pichlmeier,  Lisa Stewart  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmut Müller-Brühl,  Mátyás Antal,  Jeremy Summerly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Chamber Orchestra,  Hungarian Radio Chorus,  Failoni Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 31.
    Classical Evergreens
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 182802 Release Date: 11/24/2008   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Pablo de Sarasate,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Claude Debussy,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Ion Voicu,  Karl Suske,  Walter Olbertz,  Jürnjakob Timm  ... 
    Conductor:  Heinz Bongartz,  Robert Hanell,  Otmar Suitner,  Heinz Rögner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra,  Deutschland Sender Orchestra Berlin,  Dresden Staatskapelle  ... 
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  • 32.
    Der Goldene Pavillon Vol 2
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 182672 Release Date: 11/24/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Franz Liszt,  Franz Schubert,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
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  • 33.
    The Most Beautiful Classical Melodies Vol 2 / Hahn, Fey, Rilling, Schulz, Stuttgart Bach Collegium, Et Al
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98524 Release Date: 11/11/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
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  • 34.
    Bach Beat / Brian Slawson
    Label: Sony Classical Masterworks   Catalog: 47274 Release Date: 10/28/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Brian Slawson
    Performer:  Brian Slawson
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  • 35.
    O'Reilly Street / James Galway, Tiempo Libre
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 732164 Release Date: 09/16/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Bolling,  Jorge Gomez,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  James Galway,  Jorge Gomez,  Tiempo Libre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tiempo Libre
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  • 36.
    Greatest Works - Bach / Koch, Schreier, Sanderling, Biggs, Et Al
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 184252 Release Date: 08/12/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Herbert Collum,  Thomas Zehetmair,  Hans Pischner,  E. Power Biggs  ... 
    Conductor:  Thomas Zehetmair,  Kurt Sanderling,  Helmut Koch,  Peter Schreier  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Bach Soloists,  Berlin Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 37.
    Saturday Morning Coffee - Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Et Al / Allan Spencer Mallet Choir
    Label: Asmc   Catalog: 5637202499 Release Date: 04/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonín Dvorák,  Léo Delibes  ... 
    Performer:  Allan Spencer,  Michael Downing,  Sarah Basiletti,  Dylan Locke
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Allan Spencer Mallet Choir
    CD: $14.99
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  • 38.
    Bach / Canadian Brass
    Label: Opening Day   Catalog: 7346 Release Date: 01/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Christopher Dedrick
    Performer:  Bernhard Scully,  Eugene Watts,  Christopher Lee,  Charles Daellenbach  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert Moody
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canadian Brass
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  • 39.
    Clowning Around / London Brass
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 46069 Release Date: 11/13/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Stephen Foster,  Julius Fucik,  Jan Koetsier  ... 
    Performer:  Andrew Crowley,  Mark Bennett,  Robert Farley,  Anne McAneny  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Brass
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  • 40.
    Beauty And The Beatbox / Swingle Singers, Shlomo, Et Al
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 104 Release Date: 10/30/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Walter Murphy
    Performer:  Shlomo,  Joanna Goldsmith
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vocal Orchestra,  Swingle Singers
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  • 41.
    Gaubert: Les Chants De Mer - Recordings 1927-1940
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 801 Release Date: 09/01/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henri Duparc,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Philippe Gaubert  ... 
    Performer:  Philippe Gaubert
    Conductor:  Philippe Gaubert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris
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  • 42.
    Fantastic Flute - Gluck, Et Al / Wolfgang Schulz, Et Al
    Label: Camerata Records   Catalog: 28092 Release Date: 07/17/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Christoph W. Gluck,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Roman Hoffstetter,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Wolfgang Schulz,  Atsuko Wada,  Naoko Yoshino
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  • 43.
    The Best Bach
    Label: Vanguard   Catalog: 2015 Release Date: 02/13/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Mieczyslaw Horszowski,  Feliz Elias,  Joseph Brezina,  André Lardrot  ... 
    Conductor:  Felix Prohaska,  Antonio Janigro,  Johannes Somary,  Miltiades Caridis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Chamber Orchestra,  Camerata Romana,  I Solisti di Zagreb  ... 
    CD: $6.99
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  • 44.
    Baby Got Bach / Lumiere String Quartet
    Label: Lumiere Records   Catalog: 5637381127 Release Date: 08/22/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Sato Moughalian
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lumiere String Quartet
    CD: $17.99
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  • 45.
    The Essential James Galway
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 80318 Release Date: 05/23/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Aram Khachaturian,  Cécile Louise Chaminade,  Tamezo Narita  ... 
    Performer:  James Galway
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  • 46.
    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  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 47.
    Adagios, Sérénades / Simion Stanciu, Et Al
    Label: Cascavelle   Catalog: 3069 Release Date: 03/28/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Domenico Cimarosa,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Simion Stanciu Syrinx,  Alexandre Lagoya,  Marielle Nordmann
    Conductor:  Armin Jordan,  Jean-Pierre Berlingen,  Hans Graf,  Edmond de Stoutz  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lausanne Chamber Orchestra,  Normandy Orchestral Ensemble,  Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra  ... 
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  • 48.
    Bach: Works For Trumpet / Alison Balsom, Et Al
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 58047 Release Date: 01/10/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gottfried H. Stölzel
    Performer:  Alison Balsom,  Colm Carey,  Mark Caudle,  Alina Ibragimova  ... 
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  • 49.
    Enfants Classiques - Le Meilleur De Bach
    Label: Children's Group   Catalog: 84395 Release Date: 10/18/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gottfried H. Stölzel
    Performer:  Hae-Won Chang,  Petri Alanko,  Jukka Rautasalo,  Chen Pi-hsien  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert Stankovsky,  Walter Babiak,  Jaroslav Dvorák,  Oliver Dohnányi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Camerata Cassovia,  Toronto Boys' Choir,  Studio Arts Orchestra  ... 
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  • 50.
    The Very Best Of Bach
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8552103-04 Release Date: 10/18/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  József Mukk,  Judit Németh,  Ingrid Kertesi,  János Tóth  ... 
    Conductor:  Géza Oberfrank,  Helmut Müller-Brühl,  Oliver Dohnányi,  Nicholas Ward  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Failoni Chamber Orchestra,  Hungarian Radio Chamber Choir,  Cologne Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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