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: BIS-2151   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Cantatas for the Complete Liturgical Year / Kuijken, La Petite Bande
Release Date: 09/15/2017   Label: Accent  
Catalog: 25319   Number of Discs: 19
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Bach: Magnificat in E-Flat Major & Missa in F Major / Gardiner
Release Date: 10/13/2017   Label: Soli Deo Gloria Records  
Catalog: 728   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Complete Edition
Release Date: 09/02/2014   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 1116165   Number of Discs: 142
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Schumann, Bach & Brahms / Argerich, Perlman
Release Date: 09/30/2016   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 557553   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Suite for Cello solo no 1 in G major, BWV 1007

Browse 1-25 of 220 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Bach & Cage: Chorales / Berger [Vinyl]
    Label: Solo Musica   Catalog: SMLP271 Release Date: 10/06/2017   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  John Cage,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Julius Berger
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  • 2.
    Bach: 6 Cello Suites / Narroway
    Label: Sono Luminus   Catalog: 70010 Release Date: 09/22/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Richard Narroway
    CD: $17.99
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  • 3.
    Bach & Cage: Chorale / Berger
    Label: Solo Musica   Catalog: 270 Release Date: 09/08/2017   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  John Cage,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Julius Berger,  Immanuel Jun Berger
    CD: $39.99
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  • 4.
    Bach: Works for Flute / Hazelzet, Ogg
    Label: Glossa   Catalog: 80804 Release Date: 07/07/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Wilbert Hazelzet,  Jacques Ogg
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  • 5.
    Bach: Solo Works for Marimba / Kuniko
    Label: Linn Records   Catalog: 585 Release Date: 06/23/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Kuniko
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  • 6.
    Bach: Cello Suites, Cello Sonatas & French Suites / Steen-Nokleberg, Zagorinsky
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1002454 Release Date: 05/05/2017   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Alexander Zagorinsky,  Einar Steen-Nökleberg
    CD: $54.49
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  • 7.
    Bach & Friends / Revax
    Label: Solo Musica   Catalog: 257 Release Date: 04/07/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Heinz Holliger,  Xavier Dayer,  Pascal Dusapin  ... 
    Performer:  Estelle Revaz
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  • 8.
    Mstislav Rostropovich: Cellist of the Century
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 559857 Release Date: 03/24/2017   Number of Discs: 43
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Nikolay Myaskovsky,  Antonín Dvorák,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Alexander Dedyukhin,  Alexander Dedyuhkin,  David Oistrakh  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Sir Adrian Boult,  George Szell,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $166.99
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  • 9.
    Bach: 6 Cello Suites / Fournier [Vinyl]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4796963 Release Date: 02/24/2017   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Pierre Fournier
    LP: $114.99
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  • 10.
    Pierre Fournier Edition: Complete Recordings on DG, Decca & Philips
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4796909 Release Date: 02/10/2017   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Edouard Lalo,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Max Bruch,  Ernest Bloch  ... 
    Performer:  Pierre Fournier,  Géza Anda,  Wolfgang Schneiderhan,  Giusto Cappone  ... 
    Conductor:  Jean Martinon,  Alfred Wallenstein,  Ferenc Fricsay,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lamoureux Concerts Association Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 11.
    Shostakovich, Bach, Haydn & Couperin / Starker
    Label: Symphonia   Catalog: ERM1047 Release Date: 11/18/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  François Couperin
    Performer:  János Starker
    Conductor:  Marc Andrae,  Rudolf Baumgartner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RTSI Orchestra,  Festival Strings Lucerne
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  • 12.
    Bach: Cello Suites / Harrell
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002530102 Release Date: 08/12/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Lynn Harrell
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  • 13.
    Bach: Suites Nos. 1-3 / Roskovec
    Label: Exton   Catalog: 78 Release Date: 06/17/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Ondrej Roskovec
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  • 14.
    Bach: The Suites for Violoncello Solo & The Sonatas for Viola da Gamba & Harpsichord
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88725463872 Release Date: 06/10/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  J. C. F. Bach
    Performer:  Anner Bylsma,  Bob van Asperen
    CD: $19.99
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  • 15.
    Archiv Produktion: Analogue Stereo Recordings (1959-1981)
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 002490502 Release Date: 05/20/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Pierre Vachon,  Nicolas-Marie Dalayrac,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Stader,  Hedwig Bilgram,  Hertha Töpper,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Richter,  August Wenzinger,  Karl Ristenpart,  Robert Stehli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Bach Orchestra,  Munich Bach Choir,  Loewenguth String Quartet  ... 
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  • 16.
    Bach: Unaccompanied Cello Suites / Yo-Yo Ma [Vinyl]
    Label: Sony Music Entertainment   Catalog: 88875132611 Release Date: 02/19/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma
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  • 17.
    111: The Collector's Editions [111 CDs]
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002422702 Release Date: 12/11/2015   Number of Discs: 111
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Daniel Barenboim,  Lorin Maazel,  Franz Konwitschny  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Amadeus Quartet,  Paris Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $325.49
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  • 18.
    Dialoghi / Frey, Fung [Vinyl]
    Label: Yarlung Records   Catalog: YAR09262-876V Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Witold Lutoslawski,  Steven Edward Stucky,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  David Fung,  Elinor Frey
    LP: $29.99
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  • 19.
    Bach: The Suites for Solo Cello / Starker
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 88697703262 Release Date: 10/30/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  János Starker
    CD: $14.99
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  • 20.
    Bach: The Cello Suites - According to Anna Magdalena / Haimovitz
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 186555 Release Date: 10/09/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Matt Haimovitz
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  • 21.
    Yo-Yo Ma: The Classical Cello Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 513074 Release Date: 10/02/2015   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Luigi Boccherini,  Franz Schubert,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma,  Ton Koopman,  Emanuel Ax,  Edgar Meyer  ... 
    Conductor:  Ton Koopman,  Claudio Abbado,  Kurt Masur,  Lorin Maazel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic,  ORTF National Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $47.99
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  • 22.
    Bach: Cello Suites / Inbal Segev
    Label: Vox   Catalog: 7911 Release Date: 09/18/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Inbal Segev
    CD: $18.99
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  • 23.
    J.s. Bach: Cello Suites
    Label: Laurence Lesser   Catalog: 5638541652 Release Date: 09/01/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Laurence Lesser
    CD: $26.99
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  • 24.
    Bach: Suites for Solo Cello / Higham
    Label: Delphian   Catalog: 34150 Release Date: 08/14/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Philip Higham
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  • 25.
    Soliloquy: Works For Solo Cello
    Label: Ablaze Records   Catalog: 20 Release Date: 07/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  J. Mark Scearce,  Kaija Saariaho,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Jeremy Beck  ... 
    Performer:  Paul York
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