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Composer & Organist Johann Sebastian Bach Born in 1685

The virtuosic composer of the late Baroque period is known for his works for solo cello and violin, Brandenburg Concertos, Goldberg Variations, and St Matthew Passion

 

German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist Johann Sebastian Bach was born to a musical family in Eisenach in 1685, a small town in Thuringia, Germany. He was the youngest child of Elisabeth Lämmerhirt and Johann Ambrosius Bach, the latter was a string player, employed by the town council and the ducal court of Eisenach.

Bach is an exemplar of the Baroque period, known especially for his mastery of counterpoint, canon, and fugue. His most popular works include his Suites for Solo Cello, Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, Brandenburg Concertos, Goldberg Variations, the Well-Tempered Clavier, and the St Matthew Passion.

During his lifetime, Bach was known primarily as a keyboard virtuoso, in which capacity he amassed a significant amount of fame and esteem. He also held several posts as a church organist and Kapellmeister, and much of his music — especially the cantatas, which stand at the center of his output — was written for this liturgical setting.

Although Bach wrote both religious and secular music, he was deeply influenced by his Lutheran faith. He famously signed many of his works with the initials "S. D. G." — short for soli Deo gloria (glory to God alone), which was one of the central tenets of the Reformation.

His sons, Wilhelm FriedemannCarl Philipp Emanuel, and Johann Christian became prominent musicians and composers in their own right.

Bach's modern-day reputation owes its beginnings to the Bach Revival, a movement deriving from the first half of the nineteenth century which saw a renewed interest in his work after a period of neglect following his death. This interest was fueled both by the Romantic movement's fascination with the past and by growing German patriotism and nationalism brought on by the Napoleonic period. Felix Mendelssohn was a key figure in the Bach Revival and famously revived the composer's St Matthew Passion in a performance at the Berliner Sing-Akademie in 1829.

BACH | SONATA NO. 4 IN C MINOR FOR VIOLIN & KEYBOARD | 2ND MVT | JOSHUA BELL & ALESSIO BAX | VANGUARD CONCERT SERIES 1

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