Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach (31 March [O.S. 21 March] 1685 – 28 July 1750) was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He is known for instrumental compositions such as the Brandenburg Concertos and the Goldberg Variations, and for vocal music such as the St Matthew Passion and the Mass in B minor. Since the 19th-century Bach Revival he is generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.

The Bach family already counted several composers when Johann Sebastian was born as the last child of a city musician in Eisenach. After being orphaned at age 10, he lived for five years with his eldest brother Johann Christoph, after which he continued his musical formation in Lüneburg. From 1703 he was back in Thuringia, working as a musician for Protestant churches in Arnstadt and Mühlhausen and, for longer stretches of time, at courts in Weimar, where he expanded his organ repertory, and Köthen, where he was mostly engaged with chamber music. From 1723 he was employed as Thomaskantor (cantor at St. Thomas) in Leipzig. He composed music for the principal Lutheran churches of the city, and for its university's student ensemble Collegium Musicum. From 1726 he published some of his keyboard and organ music. In Leipzig, as had happened during some of his earlier positions, he had difficult relations with his employer, a situation that was little remedied when he was granted the title of court composer by his sovereign, Augustus, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, in 1736. In the last decades of his life he reworked and extended many of his earlier compositions. He died of complications after eye surgery in 1750 at the age of 65.

Bach enriched established German styles through his mastery of counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and his adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach's compositions include hundreds of cantatas, both sacred and secular. He composed Latin church music, Passions, oratorios, and motets. He often adopted Lutheran hymns, not only in his larger vocal works, but for instance also in his four-part chorales and his sacred songs. He wrote extensively for organ and for other keyboard instruments. He composed concertos, for instance for violin and for harpsichord, and suites, as chamber music as well as for orchestra. Many of his works employ the genres of canon and fugue.

Throughout the 18th century Bach was primarily valued as an organist, while his keyboard music, such as The Well-Tempered Clavier, was appreciated for its didactic qualities. The 19th century saw the publication of some major Bach biographies, and by the end of that century all of his known music had been printed. Dissemination of scholarship on the composer continued through periodicals (and later also websites) exclusively devoted to him, and other publications such as the Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (BWV, a numbered catalogue of his works) and new critical editions of his compositions. His music was further popularised through a multitude of arrangements, including, for instance, the Air on the G String, and of recordings, such as three different box sets with complete performances of the composer's oeuvre marking the 250th anniversary of his death.

Birth and Death Data: Born March 31st, 1685 (Eisenach), Died Leipzig

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1904 - 1945

Roles Represented in DAHR: composer, arranger

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 469 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor B-8980 10-in. 5/20/1910 Gavotte in E major Fritz Kreisler Violin solo, with piano composer  
Victor C-9871 12-in. 1/31/1911 Air for G string Mischa Elman Violin solo, with piano composer  
Victor CVE-9871 12-in. 6/14/1928 Air for G string Mischa Elman Violin solo, with piano composer  
Victor C-10548 12-in. 6/19/1911 Air for G string Victor Herbert's Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Victor B-11737 10-in. 3/15/1912 Gavotte in B minor Ada Sassoli Harp solo composer  
Victor B-11939 10-in. 4/26/1912 Gavotte in E major from 6th sonata Vladimir de Pachmann Piano solo composer  
Victor B-12244 10-in. 7/29/1912 Suite III : Bourrée Victor String Quartet Instrumental quintet composer  
Victor C-12439 12-in. 9/30/1912 Fugue in D minor Frank La Forge Piano solo composer  
Victor B-12541 10-in. 10/28/1912 At eventide Herbert Witherspoon Bass vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-12545 10-in. 10/29/1912 Bring him back is all my prayer Herbert Witherspoon Bass vocal solo, with violin obbligato composer  
Victor C-12728 12-in. 12/18/1912 Praeludium Fritz Kreisler Violin solo, with piano composer  
Victor C-13349 12-in. 5/24/1913 Curious story Victor Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Victor C-13731 12-in. 9/8/1913 Bourée Maud Powell Violin solo, with piano composer  
Victor C-13809 12-in. 9/17/1913 My heart ever faithful Ernestine Schumann-Heink Contralto vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-13892 10-in. 10/1/1913 Air for G string Jan Kubelík Violin solo, with piano composer  
Victor C-15560 12-in. 1/4/1915 Concerto for two violins Fritz Kreisler ; Efrem Zimbalist Violin duet, with string ensemble composer  
Victor C-15561 12-in. 1/4/1915 Concerto for two violins Fritz Kreisler ; Efrem Zimbalist Violin duet, with string ensemble composer  
Victor C-15562 12-in. 1/4/1915 Concerto for two violins Fritz Kreisler ; Efrem Zimbalist Violin duet, with string ensemble composer  
Victor B-16595 10-in. 10/4/1915 Arioso Mischa Elman Violin solo, with piano composer  
Victor B-17805 10-in. 6/6/1916 Sonata in E major : Allegro, 2nd movement Maud Powell Violin solo, with piano composer  
Victor B-17806 10-in. 6/6/1916 Sonata in E major : 4th movement Maud Powell Violin solo, with piano composer  
Victor C-18042 12-in. 6/30/1916 My heart ever faithful Louise Homer Contralto vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-19868 10-in. 5/18/1917 Papa Haydn's surprise Kitty Cheatham Female vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-19872 10-in. 5/18/1917 Butterfly Kitty Cheatham Female vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor C-20480 12-in. 8/2/1917 Air for G string Victor Concert Orchestra Orchestra composer  
(Results 1-25 of 469 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Bach, Johann Sebastian," accessed October 28, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102304.

Bach, Johann Sebastian. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved October 28, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102304.

"Bach, Johann Sebastian." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 28 October 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102304

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