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: Cello Suites / Harrell
Release Date: 08/12/2016   Label: Decca  
Catalog: B002530102   Number of Discs: 2
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Stokowski Transcriptions - Bach, Wagner, Mussorgsky / Serebrier, Bournemouth SO
Release Date: 04/27/2010   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8505086   Number of Discs: 5
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Bach: Sonatas for Flute & Harpsichord / Fred, Hakkinen
Release Date: 08/12/2016   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8573376   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: A cembalo obligato e travers solo / Holtslag, Haugsand
Release Date: 08/26/2016   Label: Aeolus  
Catalog: AE10246   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach Concertos / La Divina Armonia
Release Date: 08/26/2016   Label: Passacaille  
Catalog: PAS 1019   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Suite for Orchestra no 2: Badinerie

Browse 51-75 of 103 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    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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  • 52.
    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
    CD: $18.99
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  • 53.
    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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  • 54.
    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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  • 55.
    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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  • 56.
    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  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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  • 57.
    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  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 58.
    Art Of Flute - Vivaldi, Bach, Benda / Baarova, Et Al
    Label: Euromusica   Catalog: 12 Release Date: 08/30/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gioachino Rossini,  Antonín Dvorák,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Lenka Baarova,  Jan Niederle
    Conductor:  Jan Niederle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baarova Ensemble
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  • 59.
    Basically Bach
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 74656 Release Date: 04/05/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Hilary Hahn,  Glenn Gould,  E. Power Biggs,  William Bennett  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  Pablo Casals,  Raymond Leppard,  Richard Kapp  ... 
    CD: $4.99
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  • 60.
    Music For A Great Cook - Handel, Johnson, Et Al / Sara Stowe, Et Al
    Label: Gift Of Music   Catalog: 1133 Release Date: 02/01/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Robert Johnson,  King VIII Henry,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Sara Stowe,  Matthew Spring,  Jon Banks,  Pavel Popov  ... 
    Conductor:  Roy Goodman,  Stanislav Gorkovenko,  Julia Craig-McFelly,  Guy Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  European Union Baroque Orchestra,  Elizabethan Consort,  Russian Radio/TV Orchestra of St. Petersburg  ... 
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  • 61.
    Classical Kids - The Best Of Bach
    Label: Children's Group   Catalog: 84380 Release Date: 10/19/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gottfried H. Stölzel
    Performer:  Hae-Won Chang,  Christopher Stokes,  Emily Gray,  Chen Pi-hsien  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert Stankovsky,  Walter Babiak,  Jaroslav Dvorák,  Oliver Dohnányi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Camerata Cassovia,  Studio Arts Orchestra,  Toronto Boys' Choir  ... 
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  • 62.
    Music For A Great House
    Label: Gift Of Music   Catalog: 1104 Release Date: 09/01/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Marc-Antoine Charpentier,  George Frideric Handel,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Martin Souter
    Conductor:  Roy Goodman,  Papel Popv
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Camerata Instrumentale
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  • 63.
    The Best Of Baroque Music / Helmut Müller-brühl, Cologne Co
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8557124 Release Date: 08/26/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Tomaso Albinoni  ... 
    Performer:  Harald Hoeren,  Daniel Rothert,  Stefan Schilli,  Lisa Stewart  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmut Müller-Brühl
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Chamber Orchestra
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  • 64.
    Karajan Forever - The Greatest Classical Hits
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000035202 Release Date: 06/10/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Gustav Mahler  ... 
    Performer:  Karlheinz Zöller,  Lazar Berman,  Michel Schwalbé,  Wolfgang Meyer  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 65.
    The #1 Bach Album
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 472758 Release Date: 01/14/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gottfried H. Stölzel
    Performer:  Trevor Pinnock,  Wolfgang Rübsam,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  János Starker  ... 
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock,  Karl Richter,  Barry Rose,  John Eliot Gardiner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert,  Munich Bach Orchestra,  Munich Bach Choir  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 66.
    The Instruments Of The Orchestra / Jeremy Siepmann
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8558040-46 Release Date: 12/03/2002   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johannes Brahms,  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Performer:  Takako Nishizaki,  Idil Biret,  Tedi Papavrami,  Maria Kliegel  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Gunzenhauser,  Antoni Wit,  Richard Edlinger,  Takuo Yuasa  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Istropolitana,  Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Ulster Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $48.99
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  • 67.
    Listen, Learn & Grow - Playtime - Fun & Games
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8555812 Release Date: 08/20/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Adolphe Adam,  Johannes Brahms,  Edvard Grieg,  Johann Strauss Jr.  ... 
    Performer:  Balázs Szokolay,  Péter Nagy,  Gerald Garcia
    Conductor:  Ondrej Lenárd,  István Bogár,  Jerzy Maksymiuk,  Keith Brion  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Budapest Symphony Orchestra,  BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 68.
    The #1 Classical Album
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 470933 Release Date: 05/14/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Johann Strauss Sr.,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Nigel Kennedy,  Carlos Bonell  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly,  Willi Boskovsky,  Julius Rudel,  Zubin Mehta  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Utah Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 69.
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 67728 Release Date: 01/08/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Douglas Major,  Andrei Gavrilov,  Christopher Parkening,  Frank Peter Zimmermann  ... 
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Wolfgang Gönnenwein,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Robert Irving  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Empire Brass,  South German Madrigal Choir Stuttgart  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 70.
    Canon & Gigue - Albinoni, Bach, Pachelbel, Et Al / Rolla
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 7408392 Release Date: 10/15/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Haydn,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Christoph W. Gluck,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Dale Clevenger
    Conductor:  János Rolla
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra
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  • 71.
    Listen, Learn And Grow - Playtime
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8560050 Release Date: 06/19/2001   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Gioachino Rossini,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Adolphe Adam  ... 
    Performer:  Bedrich Tylsar,  Zdenek Tylsar,  Balázs Szokolay,  Péter Nagy  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Edlinger,  Michael Halász,  Michael Dittrich,  Ondrej Lenárd  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Istropolitana,  Zagreb Festival Orchestra,  Bratislava Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $25.49
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  • 72.
    Festive Baroque - Albinoni, Corelli, Et Al / Terfel, Et Al
    Label: Dg Panorama   Catalog: 469247 Release Date: 02/27/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Jeremiah Clarke  ... 
    Performer:  Simon Preston,  Hans-Peter Westermann,  Piet Dhont,  Michael Niesemann  ... 
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock,  Reinhard Goebel,  John Eliot Gardiner,  Nikolaus Harnoncourt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert,  Musica Antiqua Cologne,  English Baroque Soloists  ... 
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  • 73.
    Baroque Trumpet Music Vol 2 - Neruda, Etc / Kratzer, Nuber
    Label: Fermate   Catalog: 20004 Release Date: 11/28/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Domenico Gabrielli,  Johann Friedrich Fasch,  Georg Philipp Telemann  ... 
    Performer:  Bernhard Kratzer,  Monika Nuber
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  • 74.
    Fine Arts Brass Play Baroque - Bach, Handel, Vivaldi
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 5651 Release Date: 09/12/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Tomaso Albinoni,  Antonio Vivaldi,  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Richard Sandland,  Simon Hogg,  Angela Whelan,  Simon Lenton  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fine Arts Brass Ensemble
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  • 75.
    Essential Bach
    Label: London/Decca Double Decker   Catalog: 466465 Release Date: 06/13/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Thurston Dart,  Marisa Robles,  David Munrow,  John Turner  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Raymond Leppard,  Salvatore Accardo,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Chamber Orchestra of Europe  ... 
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