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
Faure: Requiem; Bach / Short, Tenebrae
Release Date: 11/13/2012   Label: Lso Live  
Catalog: 728   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Easter Oratorio / Gardiner, Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists
Release Date: 03/25/2014   Label: Soli Deo Gloria Records  
Catalog: 719   Number of Discs: 1
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Helene Grimaud Piano Recital - Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Rachimaninov
Release Date: 10/29/2013   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 4891   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Toccata & Fugue, Brandenburg Concerto No 4; Air On A G String / Carney
Release Date: 06/14/2011   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28900   Number of Discs: 1
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Vivaldi: Four Seasons; Pachelbel, Bach / Carney, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Release Date: 03/10/2009   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28090   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Suite for Cello solo no 1 in G major, BWV 1007

Browse 26-50 of 230 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Bach: 6 Cello Suites / Pieter Wispelwey [2 CDs & DVD]
    Label: Evil Penguin Records   Catalog: 12 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Pieter Wispelwey
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  • 27.
    Bach: Cello Suites
    Label: Twopianists (Label)   Catalog: 1039275 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Traditional,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Peter Martens
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  • 28.
    Reflections
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 3242 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ernest Bloch
    Performer:  Amit Peled
    Conductor:  Hajime Teri Murai
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  • 29.
    The Baroque Collection
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 73420 Release Date: 10/22/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Tomaso Albinoni,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Giovanni Palestrina  ... 
    Performer:  Xavier Darasse,  Maurice André,  Guy Touvron,  Pierre Pierlot  ... 
    Conductor:  Louis Auriacombe,  Jörg Faerber,  Jacques Roussel,  Raymond Leppard  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Chamber Orchestra,  Württemberg Chamber Orchestra,  Antiqua Musica  ... 
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  • 30.
    All-Baroque Box (From Monteverdi To Bach) [50-CD Limited Edition]
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 001719702 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Domenico Scarlatti,  Giovanni Battista Pergolesi  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Harvey,  Stephen Varcoe,  Anthony Rolfe Johnson,  Michael Chance  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner,  Paul McCreesh,  Marc Minkowski,  Trevor Pinnock  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir,  Gabrieli Consort  ... 
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  • 31.
    Label: Zyx Records   Catalog: 1007777 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Pablo Casals
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  • 32.
    Bach: Intime, Intimate, Vertraut
    Label: Ligia   Catalog: 1031856 Release Date: 06/26/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Laurent Martin
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  • 33.
    Cello Favourites, Vol. 5
    Label: Danica   Catalog: 8222 Release Date: 06/12/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francesco Maria Veracini,  Tomaso Albinoni,  Maria Theresia Paradis,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Anders Gron,  Jorgen Hald Nielsen
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  • 34.
    Bach: The Six Solo Suites, Viola Version / Luca Ranieri
    Label: Camerata Records   Catalog: 20103 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Luca Ranieri
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  • 35.
    Jacqueline Du Pre - The Complete EMI Recordings [17-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 91934 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Frederick Delius,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  Jacqueline Du Pré,  Daniel Barenboim,  Gerald Moore,  Ernest Lush  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli,  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Daniel Barenboim,  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 36.
    The Sound Of Jacqueline Du Pre
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 91975 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Robert Schumann,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Jacqueline Du Pré,  Daniel Barenboim,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Stephen Kovacevich  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli,  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 37.
    Bach: Cello Suites / Richard Tunnicliffe
    Label: Linn Records   Catalog: 396 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Richard Tunnicliffe
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  • 38.
    Inspired By Bach: The Cello Suites [remastered]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 756128 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma
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  • 39.
    Bach: 6 Suites For Cello Solo; 3 Sonatas For Cello & Harpsichord; Boccherini: Cello Concerto
    Label: Doremi Records   Catalog: 80146 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Luigi Boccherini,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Antonio Janigro,  Robert Veyron-Lacroix
    Conductor:  Milan Horvat
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  • 40.
    The Complete Bach Edition
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 664202 Release Date: 03/27/2012   Number of Discs: 154
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Max van Egmond,  Kurt Equiluz,  Paul Esswood,  Walter Gampert  ... 
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Gustav Leonhardt,  Ton Koopman,  Jaap Schröder  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus,  Chorus Viennensis,  Vienna Boys' Choir  ... 
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  • 41.
    Bach - An Imaginary Dance / Charles Curtis
    Label: eOne   Catalog: 2127 Release Date: 03/26/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Charles Curtis,  Robert Sadin
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  • 42.
    Label: Disc Makers   Catalog: 5637908400 Release Date: 02/21/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Santiago de Murcia,  Nicola Matteis,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Marc-Antoine Charpentier  ... 
    Performer:  Joseph Gascho
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  • 43.
    Bach: Cello Suites / Quirine Viersen
    Label: Globe   Catalog: 5244 Release Date: 02/14/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Quirine Viersen
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  • 44.
    Bach: Cello Suites / Pablo Casals
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 85290 Release Date: 01/24/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Pablo Casals
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  • 45.
    Bach: 6 Cello Suites / Gerard Causse
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 07665 Release Date: 01/10/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Gérard Caussé
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  • 46.
    Bach: Six Suites For Cello / Lipkind
    Label: Lipkind   Catalog: 004 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Gavriel Lipkind
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  • 47.
    Bach: 6 Suites A Violoncello Solo Senza Basso
    Label: Lipkind   Catalog: 3 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Gavriel Lipkind
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  • 48.
    Dialoghi
    Label: Yarlung Records   Catalog: 78876 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Toshiro Mayuzumi,  Christopher Rouse,  Steven Edward Stucky  ... 
    Performer:  Elinor Frey,  David Fung
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  • 49.
    Irina Kulikova - Guitar Laureate
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572717 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Fernando Sor,  Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco,  J. M Gallardo Del Rey  ... 
    Performer:  Irina Kulikova
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  • 50.
    The Very Best Of Mstislav Rostropovich
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 94775 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Johannes Brahms,  Antonín Dvorák,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich,  David Oistrakh,  Alexander Dedyukhin,  Ulrich Koch  ... 
    Conductor:  Mstislav Rostropovich,  George Szell,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
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