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: The Six Partitas / Schepkin
Release Date: 07/08/2016   Label: Steinway & Sons  
Catalog: 30062   Number of Discs: 2
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Bach: Complete Works for Organ / Alain
Release Date: 09/17/2007   Label: Erato  
Catalog: 4699028   Number of Discs: 15
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Sacred Music - Bach, Handel, Beethoven / Klemperer
Release Date: 08/20/2013   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 935402   Number of Discs: 8
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Bach: Complete Organ Works / Koopman
Release Date: 03/02/2009   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 4692817   Number of Discs: 16
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Bach: Johannes Passion, BWV 245 / Budday, Ensemble Il Capriccio
Release Date: 07/08/2016   Label: K & K Verlagsanstalt  
Catalog: 124   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Sonata for Violin solo no 1 in G minor, BWV 1001

Browse 1-25 of 153 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    The Menuhin Century: Luxury Edition
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 555050 Release Date: 04/22/2016   Number of Discs: 91
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny,  Arcangelo Corelli  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Hubert Giesen,  Artur Balsam,  Marcel Gazelle  ... 
    Conductor:  Landon Ronald,  Pierre Monteux,  Jean Fournet,  Anatole Fistoulari  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Paris Symphonic Orchestra,  Colonne Concerts Orchestra  ... 
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  • 2.
    The Menuhin Century: The Historic Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 555052 Release Date: 04/22/2016   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonín Dvorák,  Niccolň Paganini  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Gerald Moore,  George Enescu,  David Oistrakh  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Edward Elgar,  George Enescu,  Pierre Monteux,  Sir John Barbirolli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Paris Symphonic Orchestra,  Orchestre De La Société Des Concerts Du Conservatoire  ... 
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  • 3.
    The Menuhin Century: Unpublished Recordings & Rarities
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 555051 Release Date: 04/22/2016   Number of Discs: 22
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny,  Arcangelo Corelli  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Hubert Giesen,  Artur Balsam,  Marcel Gazelle  ... 
    Conductor:  Landon Ronald,  Pierre Monteux,  Jean Fournet,  Anatole Fistoulari  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Paris Symphonic Orchestra,  Colonne Concerts Orchestra  ... 
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  • 4.
    Bach: The Sonatas & Partitas for Solo Violin / Kaplan
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9460 Release Date: 04/12/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Mark Kaplan
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  • 5.
    Bach: Sonatas & Partitas for Solo Violin / Beznosiuk
    Label: Linn Records   Catalog: 366 Release Date: 03/11/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Pavlo Beznosiuk
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  • 6.
    Bach: Sonatas & Partitas, BWV 1001-1006 / Luolajan-Mikkola
    Label: Linn Records   Catalog: 548 Release Date: 02/12/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Markku Luolajan-Mikkola
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  • 7.
    Bach: Violin Sonatas & Partitas / Martzy
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 15036 Release Date: 02/12/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Johanna Martzy
    CD: $34.99
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  • 8.
    J.S. Bach: Complete Violin Sonatas & Partitas / Isabelle Faust
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 2908474 Release Date: 02/05/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Isabelle Faust
    CD: $13.99
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  • 9.
    Bach: Complete Works for Violin / Schmid, Cis Collegium Mozarteum Salzburg
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 13 Release Date: 01/08/2016   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Benjamin Schmid,  Clara Dent,  Helge Rosenkranz,  Anthony Spiri  ... 
    Conductor:  Jürgen Geise
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  • 10.
    Bach: Sonatas & Partitas for Solo Violin / Sigurjonsdottir
    Label: Msr   Catalog: 1605 Release Date: 12/08/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Hlif Sigurjonsdottir
    On sale! $28.98
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  • 11.
    Sei Solo (You Are Alone): J.S. Bach - The Sonatas and Partitas
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1605 Release Date: 12/08/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  James Stern
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  • 12.
    Bach: Sonatas & Partitas For Solo Violin / Midori
    Label: Onyx   Catalog: 4123 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Midori
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  • 13.
    Johann Sebastian Bach / Ornulf Boye Hansen
    Label: Bergen Digital   Catalog: 7042 Release Date: 10/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Ornulf Boye Hansen
    On sale! $22.98
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  • 14.
    Johann Sebastian Bach: Baroque Marimba
    Label: Stone Records   Catalog: 8057 Release Date: 10/02/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Stanislao Marco Spina
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  • 15.
    Itzhak Perlman: The Complete Warner Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 552439 Release Date: 09/25/2015   Number of Discs: 77
    Composer:  Niccolň Paganini,  Pablo de Sarasate,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Ray Still,  Samuel Sanders  ... 
    Conductor:  Lawrence Foster,  Daniel Barenboim,  Itzhak Perlman,  Bernard Haitink  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 16.
    J.s. Bach: Sonaten Und Partiten
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 552364 Release Date: 09/25/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman
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  • 17.
    Label: Ja Hsieh   Catalog: 5638554331 Release Date: 08/29/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Ja Hsieh
    CD: $37.99
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  • 18.
    Bach: The Sonatas & Partitas For Solo Violin / Eliot Fisk
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 2581 Release Date: 07/10/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Eliot Fisk
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  • 19.
    Bach & Beyond, Part 2 / Koh
    Label: Cedille Records   Catalog: 154 Release Date: 05/12/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Kaija Saariaho
    Performer:  Jennifer Koh,  Jennifer Koh
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  • 20.
    Bach: Solo Sonatas & Partitas / Gil Shaham
    Label: Canary Classics   Catalog: 14 Release Date: 03/10/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Gil Shaham
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  • 21.
    Dvorak, Brahms, Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Kreisler, Fiocco, Falla / Johanna Martzy
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 23424 Release Date: 03/10/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Johannes Brahms,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Jean Antonietti,  Johanna Martzy
    Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay
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  • 22.
    Bach on the Lute / Nigel North
    Label: Linn Records   Catalog: 300 Release Date: 02/10/2015   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Nigel North
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  • 23.
    Bach: 3 Solo Violin Sonatas
    Label: Gega New   Catalog: 16 Release Date: 02/03/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Jassen Todorov
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  • 24.
    Bach: Sonatas; Partitas; Suites / Hopkinson Smith
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 8939 Release Date: 01/27/2015   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Hopkinson Smith
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  • 25.
    J.s. Bach: Sei Solo
    Label: Es-dur   Catalog: 2043 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    CD: $27.49
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