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: Cello Suites / Harrell
Release Date: 08/12/2016   Label: Decca  
Catalog: B002530102   Number of Discs: 2
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Bach: Complete Concertos
Release Date: 06/24/2016   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 95303   Number of Discs: 9
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Stokowski Transcriptions - Bach, Wagner, Mussorgsky / Serebrier, Bournemouth SO
Release Date: 04/27/2010   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8505086   Number of Discs: 5
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Bach: Sonatas for Flute & Harpsichord / Fred, Hakkinen
Release Date: 08/12/2016   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8573376   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: A cembalo obligato e travers solo / Holtslag, Haugsand
Release Date: 08/26/2016   Label: Aeolus  
Catalog: AE10246   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Suite for Cello solo no 2 in D minor, BWV 1008

Browse 1-25 of 183 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Bach: Cello Suites / Harrell
    Label: Decca   Catalog: B002530102 Release Date: 08/12/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Lynn Harrell
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  • 2.
    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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  • 3.
    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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  • 4.
    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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  • 5.
    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
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  • 6.
    Bach: Unaccompanied Cello Suites / Yo-Yo Ma [Vinyl]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875132611 Release Date: 02/19/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma
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  • 7.
    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,  Orchestre de Paris  ... 
    CD: $325.49
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  • 8.
    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
    CD: $39.99
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  • 9.
    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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  • 10.
    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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  • 11.
    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
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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    J.S. Bach: The Cello Suites, 1-3 / Vlasankova
    Label: Arcodiva   Catalog: 173 Release Date: 06/09/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Jitka Vlasánková
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  • 14.
    Jean-sebastien Bach: Six Cello-suites
    Label: Pavane   Catalog: 7568 Release Date: 04/14/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Alexandre Debrus
    CD: $24.99
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  • 15.
    Bach: 6 Cello Suites, Gamba Sonatas / W. & P. Kuijken
    Label: Arcana   Catalog: 383 Release Date: 03/31/2015   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Wieland Kuijken,  Piet Kuijken
    CD: $37.49
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  • 16.
    Bach: Cello Suites / David Watkin
    Label: Resonus Classics   Catalog: 10147 Release Date: 03/10/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  David Watkin
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  • 17.
    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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  • 18.
    Johann Sebastian Bach: Six Suites For Solo Cello
    Label: Cameo Classics   Catalog: 9050 Release Date: 02/10/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Alfia Nakipbekova
    CD: $29.99
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  • 19.
    Bach: Cello Suites / Enders [Vinyl]
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 0300609BC Release Date: 01/27/2015   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Isang Enders
    LP: $48.99
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  • 20.
    Bach: Cello Suites / Isang Enders
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300552 Release Date: 01/27/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Isang Enders
    CD: $39.99
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  • 21.
    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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  • 22.
    Geringas Plays Bach Plus
    Label: Es-dur   Catalog: 2036 Release Date: 11/17/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  John Corigliano,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Anatolijus Senderovas,  Viktor Suslin  ... 
    Performer:  David Geringas
    CD: $27.49
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  • 23.
    Bach: The Six Cello Suites / Viola de Hoog
    Label: Vivat   Catalog: 107 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Viola de Hoog
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  • 24.
    The Originals - Legendary Recordings from DG
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002171502 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Pierre Fournier,  Walter Berry  ... 
    Conductor:  David Oistrakh,  Sir Eugene Goossens,  Franz Konwitschny,  Carlos Kleiber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 25.
    Bach: Cello-suiten
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 624199 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich
    CD: $18.99
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