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 Sonatas for Violin & Harpsichord / Pine, Vinikour
Release Date: 05/11/2018   Label: Cedille Records  
Catalog: 177   Number of Discs: 2
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Yo-Yo Ma plays Bach & Boccherini
Release Date: 05/25/2018   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 19075816322   Number of Discs: 6
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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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Circles: Piano Concertos by Glass & Bach / Dinnerstein, A Far Cry
Release Date: 05/18/2018   Label: Orange Mountain Music  
Catalog: 127   Number of Discs: 1
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Platinum - Bach: The Six Suites / Paolo Pandolfo
Release Date: 09/25/2001   Label: Glossa  
Catalog: 30405   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Suite for Cello solo no 2 in D minor, BWV 1008

Browse 1-25 of 181 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Yo-Yo Ma plays Bach & Boccherini
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 19075816322 Release Date: 05/25/2018   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johann Christian Bach,  Luigi Boccherini
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma,  Kenneth Cooper,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Ton Koopman  ... 
    Conductor:  Pinchas Zukerman,  Ton Koopman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Paul Chamber Orchestra,  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra
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  • 2.
    Bach: Cello Suites / Dumas
    Label: Urania Records   Catalog: 14036 Release Date: 05/04/2018   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Marianne Dumas
    CD: $29.99
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  • 3.
    Scelsi & Bach / Parisi, Fabbri
    Label: Digressione Music   Catalog: 76 Release Date: 03/09/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Rocco Parisi and Isabella Fabbri,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Giacinto Scelsi
    Performer:  Isabella Fabbri,  Rocco Parisi
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  • 4.
    The Complete Bach Edition
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 567107 Release Date: 02/23/2018   Number of Discs: 153
    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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  • 5.
    Bach: Cello Suites (Arranged for Guitar) / Hoppstock
    Label: Christophorus   Catalog: 77422 Release Date: 01/19/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Francesco Da Milano
    Performer:  Tilman Hoppstock
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  • 6.
    Bach: The 6 Cello Suites Revisited / Moldrup
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: BCD9503A/B Release Date: 12/08/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Viggo Mangor
    Performer:  Toke Moldrup,  Elisabeth Zeuthen Schneider,  Kirstine Zeuthen Schneider,  Viggo Mangor
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  • 7.
    Bach: 6 Cello Suites / Demenga
    Label: Ecm   Catalog: 002726402 Release Date: 11/17/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Thomas Demenga
    CD: $39.99
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  • 8.
    Les maitres du Baroque
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 372 Release Date: 11/03/2017   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Tomaso Albinoni,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Marc-Antoine Charpentier,  Jean-Baptiste Lully  ... 
    Performer:  Tomas Kral,  Daniel Elgersma,  Philippe Froeliger,  Lionel Meunier  ... 
    Conductor:  Chiara Banchini,  Lionel Meunier,  Raphaël Pichon,  Vincent Dumestre  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble 415,  Vox Luminis,  Café Zimmermann  ... 
    CD: $37.49
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  • 9.
    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
    LP: $36.99
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  • 10.
    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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  • 11.
    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
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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    13 Strings / Malov
    Label: Pan Classics   Catalog: 10373 Release Date: 05/26/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  György Ligeti
    Performer:  Sergey Malov
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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    Bach: Suites for Cello Nos. 2, 4 & 5 / Schmidt
    Label: Fontenay Classics   Catalog: 10 Release Date: 04/21/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Niklas Schmidt
    CD: $18.99
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  • 16.
    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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  • 17.
    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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  • 18.
    Ich ruf zu dir: Works for Lute by Bach, Weiss & Kellner / Hofstotter
    Label: Querstand   Catalog: 1606 Release Date: 09/09/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Silvius Leopold Weiss,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  David Kellner
    Performer:  Bernhard Hofstotter
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  • 19.
    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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  • 20.
    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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  • 21.
    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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  • 22.
    Hypersuite 2: Music for Solo Cello / Adkins
    Label: Oberlin Music   Catalog: 13 Release Date: 05/13/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Elliott Carter,  Osvaldo Golijov,  Arne Nordheim  ... 
    Performer:  Darrett Adkins
    CD: $14.99
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  • 23.
    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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  • 24.
    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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  • 25.
    Zara Nelsova: Cello Concertos, Sonatas & Suites
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 21433 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Robert Schumann,  Darius Milhaud,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Zara Nelsova,  Lothar Broddack,  Artur Balsam
    Conductor:  Georg Ludwig Jochum,  Gerd Albrecht
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