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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W. F. Bach: Sinfonias / Haenchen, C. P. E. Bach Kammerorchester
Release Date: 06/24/2014   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 94690   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach / Lisa Batiashvili
Release Date: 09/16/2014   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 002133702   Number of Discs: 1
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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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Work: Suite for Orchestra no 2: Badinerie

Browse 51-75 of 137 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    Ses Plus Grands Succes
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 758857 Release Date: 03/11/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Marc-Antoine Charpentier,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Jean-Baptiste ". Arban,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Jean-Claude Meignam,  Maurice André,  Joel Pontet,  Guy Touvron  ... 
    Conductor:  Louis Martini,  Theodor Guschlbauer,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Louis de Froment  ... 
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  • 52.
    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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  • 53.
    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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  • 54.
    A Flutist's Favorites - Julius Baker / Baker, Barere, Goltzer, Templeton
    Label: Cembal D'amour   Catalog: 127 Release Date: 10/30/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Hüe,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Claude Debussy,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Julius Baker,  Boris Barere,  Albert Goltzer,  Alec Templeton
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  • 55.
    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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  • 56.
    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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  • 57.
    Classic Fm Babies
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 5301220 Release Date: 07/23/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Erik Satie,  Pietro Mascagni,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
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  • 58.
    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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  • 59.
    Bach For My Baby
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 89585 Release Date: 06/05/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Bob van Asperen,  Marion Verbruggen,  John Holloway,  Paul Goodwin  ... 
    Conductor:  Bob van Asperen,  Wolfgang Gönnenwein,  Andrew Parrott,  Sir Philip Ledger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Melante Amsterdam,  South German Madrigal Choir Stuttgart,  Taverner Players  ... 
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  • 60.
    Organ Recital - Bach, Walton, Etc / Ian Tracey
    Label: Emi Classics For Pleasure   Catalog: 82228 Release Date: 03/20/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Henry George Ley,  Charles-Marie Widor  ... 
    Performer:  Ian Tracey
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  • 61.
    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  ... 
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  • 62.
    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
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  • 63.
    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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  • 64.
    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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  • 65.
    The Bach Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 685241 Release Date: 06/27/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gottfried H. Stölzel
    Performer:  Peter Serkin,  Stephen Hammer,  Ruth Waterman,  Joel Timm  ... 
    Conductor:  Esa-Pekka Salonen,  Eugene Ormandy,  Richard Kapp,  Andrea Marcon  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Virtuosi  ... 
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  • 66.
    Tracey Plays Organ Transcriptions And French Romantic Music
    Label: Priory Records   Catalog: 6004 Release Date: 06/06/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Charles-Marie Widor,  Henri Mulet,  Gabriel Pierné,  Louis Vierne  ... 
    Performer:  Ian Tracey
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  • 67.
    The Essential James Galway
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 80318 Release Date: 05/23/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Henry Mancini,  Elton John,  Alan Menken,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  James Galway
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  • 68.
    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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  • 69.
    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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  • 70.
    Classical Bytes - Bach
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000616602 Release Date: 03/14/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Charles Gounod
    Performer:  Simon Preston,  Andrei Gavrilov,  Igor Oistrakh,  David Oistrakh  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Richter,  Sir Eugene Goossens,  Herbert von Karajan,  Arthur Fiedler  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Bach Orchestra,  Munich Bach Choir,  Royal Philarmonic Orquestra  ... 
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  • 71.
    Very Best Of Bach
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 338158 Release Date: 01/13/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Werner Jacob,  Jonathan Rees,  Jane Murdoch,  Marc Hantaď  ... 
    Conductor:  Andrew Parrott,  Philip Ledger,  Jonathan Rees,  Monica Huggett  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Taverner Players,  Taverner Consort,  Scottish Ensemble  ... 
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  • 72.
    Bach: Works For Trumpet / Alison Balsom, Et Al
    Label: Emi 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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  • 73.
    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,  Studio Arts Orchestra,  Toronto Boys' Choir  ... 
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  • 74.
    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: $14.99
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  • 75.
    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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