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
J.S. Bach: Musikalisches Opfer / Suzuki, Bach Collegium Japan
Release Date: 10/09/2017   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 2151   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Keyboard Works / Walcha
Release Date: 08/18/2017   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 563141   Number of Discs: 13
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Bach: Variations on Variations / Alessandrini
Release Date: 11/03/2017   Label: Naive  
Catalog: 30575   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Celebratory Cantatas / Suzuki, Collegium Japan
Release Date: 06/02/2017   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 2231   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: The Goldberg Variations - Remastered Edition (1955 Recording) / Gould
Release Date: 11/03/2017   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 88985480742   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Partita for Violin solo no 2: Chaconne

Browse 1-25 of 164 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Stradivari Marechal Berthier 1716 / Berman, Mazzoccante
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 7733 Release Date: 11/17/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Niccolň Paganini,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Pavel Berman,  Giuliano Mazzoccante
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  • 2.
    Bach Unlimited / De La Salle
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5444 Release Date: 11/03/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Thomas Enhco,  Francis Poulenc,  Albert Roussel  ... 
    Performer:  Lise De la Salle
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  • 3.
    Ciaccona: The Bass of Time / Bollinger
    Label: Crier Records   Catalog: 1701 Release Date: 11/03/2017  
    Composer:  Heinrich Ignaz Biber,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Luciano Berio
    Performer:  Robyn Bollinger
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  • 4.
    Joshua Bell: The Classical Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 539520 Release Date: 08/18/2017   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Alexander Courage,  George Gershwin,  Nicholas Maw,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Performer:  Joshua Bell,  John Williams,  Craig Ogden,  Gregory Knowles  ... 
    Conductor:  John Williams,  Roger Norrington,  Esa-Pekka Salonen,  David Zinman  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 5.
    Baroque Gold: 100 Great Tracks
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4832158 Release Date: 06/30/2017   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Jean-Baptiste Lully,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Pachelbel  ... 
    Performer:  Nigel North,  Christopher Hirons,  Christophe Rousset,  Ottavio Dantone  ... 
    Conductor:  Reinhard Goebel,  Philip Pickett,  Christopher Hogwood,  John Eliot Gardiner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Antiqua Cologne,  New London Consort,  Academy of Ancient Music  ... 
    CD: $29.99
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  • 6.
    Complete Solo Recordings / Yepes
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4797316 Release Date: 06/09/2017   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Alonso de Mudarra,  Luis de Milan,  Luis de Narváez,  Diego Pisador  ... 
    Performer:  Narciso Yepes
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  • 7.
    Erick Friedman: The Complete RCA Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88985395042 Release Date: 06/02/2017   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco,  Ernest Chausson  ... 
    Performer:  Jascha Heifetz,  Erick Friedman,  Bruce Prince-Joseph,  Brooks Smith  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Seiji Ozawa,  Walter Hendl,  Erich Leinsdorf
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Symphony Orchestra of London,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 8.
    Nathan Milstein & Arthur Balsam
    Label: Symphonia   Catalog: ERM1007 Release Date: 04/14/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Niccolň Paganini  ... 
    Performer:  Nathan Milstein,  Artur Balsam
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  • 9.
    Erik Then-Bergh: The Complete Electrola & Deutsche Grammophon Recordings
    Label: Apr   Catalog: 1505257 Release Date: 01/27/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Erik Then-Bergh
    Conductor:  Hans Rosbaud
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baden-Baden Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 10.
    The Bach Album / Alqhai
    Label: Glossa   Catalog: 33205 Release Date: 01/06/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Fahmi Alqhai
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  • 11.
    Bach / Radulovic
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002560102 Release Date: 10/14/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johann Christian Bach
    Performer:  Nemanja Radulovic,  Tijana Miloševi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Trilles Du Diable
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  • 12.
    Guitar Recital: Rovshan Mamedkuliev
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8573669 Release Date: 10/14/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  John Williams  ... 
    Performer:  Rovshan Mamadekuliev
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  • 13.
    Classics on Marimba / Nunoya
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 1859 Release Date: 09/09/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Waxman  ... 
    Performer:  Fumito Nunoya,  Momoko Shano,  Hiroya Honda
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  • 14.
    Berl Senofsky in Concert at Expo '58, Brussels
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9470 Release Date: 08/09/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Eugčne Ysa˙e,  Józef Wieniawski,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Berl Senofsky,  Marie Louise Bastyns
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  • 15.
    Sonata-Song / Milisavljevic
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3519 Release Date: 07/08/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Krzysztof Penderecki,  Elliott Carter,  John Harbison  ... 
    Performer:  Milan Milisavljević
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  • 16.
    The Art of the Guitar
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 555261 Release Date: 05/06/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Fernando Sor,  Narciso Yepes,  Francisco Tarrega,  Miguel Llobet  ... 
    Performer:  Turibio Santos,  Pierre Laniau,  Ernesto Bitetti,  Wulfin Lieske  ... 
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  • 17.
    Sergio Fiorentino: Early Recordings (1953-1966)
    Label: Piano Classics   Catalog: 104 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Frédéric Chopin,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Sergio Fiorentino
    CD: $48.99
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  • 18.
    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  ... 
    CD: $250.99
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  • 19.
    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  ... 
    CD: $58.49
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  • 20.
    Bach & Handel: Transcriptions for Piano / Cominati
    Label: Acousence Classics   Catalog: 12416 Release Date: 04/08/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Franz Liszt,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Roberto Cominati
    CD: $18.99
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  • 21.
    John Williams: The Complete Columbia Album Collection [58 CD + 1 DVD]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 309294 Release Date: 03/04/2016   Number of Discs: 59
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Isaac Albeniz,  Francisco Tarrega,  Joaquin Turina  ... 
    Performer:  John Williams,  Julian Bream,  Carlos Bonell,  Brian Gascoigne  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Groves,  Daniel Barenboim,  John Williams,  Louis Frémaux  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  London Sinfonietta,  String Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $138.49
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  • 22.
    Brahms & Bach / Anna Vinnitskaya
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 231 Release Date: 02/26/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Anna Vinnitskaya
    CD: $18.99
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  • 23.
    Per la Grazia de Bach: Bach, Marais / Martinez
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 3449 Release Date: 01/08/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Marin Marais
    Performer:  José Louis Martinez
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  • 24.
    Chaconne: Voices of Eternity
    Label: Analekta   Catalog: 29132 Release Date: 11/20/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Matthias Maute,  Anonymous,  Claudio Monteverdi,  Stefano Landi  ... 
    Conductor:  Matthias Maute
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Caprice
    CD: $18.99
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  • 25.
    Andreas Staier Plays Schumann on Period Piano
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 2908739 Release Date: 10/09/2015   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Andreas Staier,  Daniel Sepec
    CD: $21.99
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