For the BWV catalogue of Bach's works, see Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis.

Major series / box sets

  • The Masterworks (Brilliant Classics, 2004/2008) (ext ref: 1 / 2)
  • Premium Edition (Am@do Classics, 2007?) (ext ref: 1; 2.1 or 2.2) (wiki tracklist dump)

There seems to have been another major series (or set) (69xCD; + 2xCD sampler) by "harmonia mundi", evidence of which is rare.

Annotation last modified on 2016-05-05 08:30 UTC.


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 as well as for vocal music such as the St Matthew Passion and the Mass in B minor. Since the 19th-century Bach Revival he has been 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 becoming an orphan at age 10, he lived for five years with his eldest brother, after which he continued his musical development 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 repertoire for the organ—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 in some of his earlier positions, he had a difficult relation with his employer, a situation that was little remedied when he was granted the title of court composer by the 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.

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 mostly renowned 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 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, for instance three different box sets with complete performances of the composer's works marking the 250th anniversary of his death.

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1954 Oratorio de Noël J.S. Bach - Akademie Kammerchor - Orchestre symphonique de Vienne, Ferdinand Grossmann 1
1956 The Goldberg Variations (1955 recording) Bach; Glenn Gould 5 9
1957 Beethoven Concerto No. 2 / Bach Concerto No. 1 Beethoven, Bach; Glenn Gould, Columbia Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein 2
1957 Bach – Partita No. 5 In G Major, Partita No. 6 In E Minor Johann Sebastian Bach; Glenn Gould 1
1957 Mozart, Bach Mozart, Bach; Nathan Milstein 1
1958 Beethoven: Concerto No.1 In C Major / Bach: Concerto No. 5 In F Minor Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Sebastian Bach; Glenn Gould, Columbia Symphony Orchestra & Vladimir Golschmann 2
1958 Ich Will Den Kreuzstab Gerne Tragen / Ich Habe Genug Johann Sebastian Bach; Dietrich Fischer‐Dieskau, Hermann Töttcher, Kammerorchester Karl Ristenpart, Karl Ristenpart 2
1958 Matthaüs-Passion Johann Sebastian Bach 1
1959 Brandenburg Concertos nos 4-6 Johann Sebastian Bach; Bath Festival Orchestra, Sir Yehudi Menuhin 2
1959 The Well-Tempered Clavier, Books I & II Johann Sebastian Bach; Samuil Feinberg 3
1960 Dupré at Saint-Sulpice, Vol. 4: Bach Bach; Marcel Dupré 3
1960 Italian Concerto in F major / Partita no. 1 / Partita no. 2 Johann Sebastian Bach; Glenn Gould 2
1961 Concertos pour violons J.-S. Bach; Orchestre Paul Kuentz 1
1961 Messe in h‐moll Johann Sebastian Bach; Münchener Bach‐Chor, Münchener Bach‐Orchester, Karl Richter 3
1961 Récital d'orgue à Notre-Dame de Paris Bach - Pierre Cochereau 1
1961 Sechs Suiten für Violoncello solo, BWV 1007–1012 (1960 recording) Johann Sebastian Bach; Pierre Fournier 2
1962 St. Matthew Passion Johann Sebastian Bach; Otto Klemperer, Philharmonia Orchestra, Philharmonia Chorus 3
1962 The Art of the Fugue (organ) Johann Sebastian Bach; Glenn Gould 2
1962 Бах: Французская сюита / Фрескобальди: Пассакалия / Партита / Две фуги И.С. Бах, Д. Фрескобальди; Андрей Волконский 4 1
1964 The Two and Three Part Inventions Bach; Glenn Gould 7
1964 Toccata und Fuge d-Moll, BWV 565 / Triosonate Nr. 2 c-Moll, BWV 526 / Präludium und Fuge D-Dur, BWV 532 / Fantasie und Fuge g-Moll, BWV 542 Johann Sebastian Bach; Karl Richter 1
1965 Bach: Concerto in D minor / Chopin: Concerto No. 2 in F minor Johann Sebastian Bach, Frédéric Chopin; London Symphony Orchestra, David Zinman, Vladimir Ashkenazy 1
1965 Matthäus-Passion Johann Sebastian Bach; Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Eugen Jochum, Niederländischer Rundfunkchor, Giebel, Höffgen, Haefliger, Berry, Van Kesteren, Crass 2
1966 Brandenburgische Konzerte Nos. 2, 3, 5 Johann Sebastian Bach; Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Helmut Koch 1
1966 Konzerte für zwei Cembali und Streichorchester Johann Sebastian Bach; Staatskapelle Dresden, Kurt Redel 2
1966 Lute Suites Nos. 1 And 2 Julian Bream - J. S. Bach 1
1967 Three Keyboard Concertos Johann Sebastian Bach, Glenn Gould, Columbia Symphony Orchestra & Vladimir Golschmann 1
1967 Toccaten und Fugen Johann Sebastian Bach; Helmut Walcha 5
1968 Switched‐On Bach Bach; Wendy Carlos 5 7
1969 Magnificat in D major / Cantata no. 10 Bach; Ameling, Van Bork, Watts, Krenn, Rintzler, Krause, Wiener Akademiechor, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, Karl Münchinger 1
1969 Oboensonaten Bach, Händel, Antonio Vivaldi; Heinz Holliger 2
1970 Bach: Magnificat D-Dur, BWV 243 / Bruckner: Te Deum Bach, Bruckner; Lucia Popp, Anne Pashley, Birgit Finnilä, Janet Baker, Robert Tear, Don Garrard, Thomas Hemsley, New Philharmonia Chorus, New Philharmonia Orchestra, Daniel Barenboim 1
1971 Barock Musik Johann Sebastian Bach, Domenico Scarlatti, Sylvius Leopold Weiss; Narciso Yepes 1
1971 Brandenburgische Konzerte 1-2-6 Johann Sebastian Bach; Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Sir Neville Marriner 1
1971 Das wohltemperierte Klavier. BWV 846-893 Johann Sebastian Bach ; Zuzana Růžičková 1
1971 Goldberg Variations Johann Sebastian Bach; Anthony Newman 1
1971 Matthäus-Passion Johann Sebastian Bach; Nikolaus Harnoncourt 2
1971 Récital d'orgue Johann Sebastian Bach; Eberhard Fölster 1
1971 The World Of Baroque Antonio Vivaldi, Johann Sebastian Bach, Giovanni Gabrieli, Arcangelo Corelli, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi; Stuttgarter Kammerorchester, Karl Münchinger 1
1972 Bach: The Six Brandenburg Concertos Johann Sebastian Bach; Anthony Newman and Friends, Anthony Newman 1
1972 Concertos BWV 1047, BWV 1060 / Suite BWV 1066 J.S. Bach; Münchener Bach‐Orchester, Karl Richter 1
1972 Serenade for Flute Beethoven, Bach, Telemann; The London Virtuosi, James Galway 1
1973 Die Konzerte für 3 & 4 Cembali BWV 1063–1065 Johann Sebastian Bach; Karl Richter, Hedwig Bilgram, Iwona Fütterer, Ulrike Schott, Münchener Bach‐Orchester 1
1973 Switched‐On Bach II Bach; Wendy Carlos 5 2
1973 The Sound Of The Italian Harpsichord Martha Goldstein, Johann Sebastian Bach, Johann Jakob Froberger, Giovanni Battista Pescetti, Domenico Scarlatti & Domenico Zipoli 1
1973 The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II Johann Sebastian Bach; Sviatoslav Richter 2
1974 Conciertos de Brandenburgo Johann Sebastian Bach; Camerata Würzburg, Hanns Reinartz 5 1
1974 Music for the Solo Traverso Vol. 1 Authentic and Complete Works from the Neue Bach Gesellschaft Johann Sebastian Bach, Alexander Murray & Martha Goldstein 1
1974 Music for the Solo Traverso Vol. 2 Incomplete and Controversial Sonatas Johann Sebastian Bach, Alexander Murray & Martha Goldstein 1
1974 The Four Great Toccatas & Fugues Johann Sebastian Bach; E. Power Biggs 4
1974 The Six Cello Suites Johann Sebastian Bach; Pablo Casals 9
1975 Bach Organ Favorites Johann Sebastian Bach; E. Power Biggs 1
1975 Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, complet Johann Sebastian Bach, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Maurice André, Orchestre de chambre Jean‐François Paillard 1
1975 Helmut Walcha spielt Bach: Toccata und Fuge d-moll: Dorische Toccata und Fuge u.a. Johann Sebastian Bach; Helmut Walcha 1
1975 Italienisches Konzert F-Dur BWV 971 / Chromatische Fantasie und Fuge D-Moll BWV 903 / Partita H-Moll BWV 831 Bach; Hans Pischner 1
1975 Messe en si Jean-Sébastien Bach - Paul Kuentz 1
1975 Partita no. 2 in D minor / Sonata no. 3 in C major Bach; Kyung-Wha Chung 1
1975 The Well-Tempered Clavier CD 1 Johann Sebastian Bach; Glenn Gould 1
1975 Violin Concertos, Album 2 J. S. Bach; Itzhak Perlman, Neil Black, The English Chamber Orchestra, Daniel Barenboim 1
1976 Eesti orelid 2 J. S. Bach, C. Franck, O. Messiaen 1
1976 Geistliche Kantaten BWV 61 - 63 Johann Sebastian Bach; Concentus Musicus Wien 2
1976 Italienisches Konzert / Französische Ouvertüre Bach; Igor Kipnis 1
1976 Organ Works Johann Sebastian Bach; Lionel Rogg 1
1976 The 24 Organ Preludes and Fugues, Volume 1 J. S. Bach; Anthony Newman 1
1977 Brandenburgische Konzerte Nos. 1-3 J.S. Bach; Members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pinchas Zukerman 2
1977 Brandenburgische Konzerte: Brandenburg Concertos nos. 2, 3, 5 J.S. Bach; Members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Pinkas Zukerman 1
1977 Brendel spielt Bach: Italienisches Konzert / Chromatische Fantasie und Fuge Johann Sebastian Bach; Alfred Brendel 1
1977 Musical Offering J.S. Bach; The Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, Karl Münchinger 1
1977 The 24 Organ Preludes and Fugues, Volume 2 J.S. Bach; Anthony Newman 2
1977 The English Suites Complete Johann Sebastian Bach & Glenn Gould 1
1978 J.S. Bach : The 6 flute sonatas Johann Sebastian Bach, William Bennett, George Malcolm & Michael Evans 1
1978 James Galway Plays Bach Johann Sebastian Bach; James Galway, The Zagreb Soloists 1
1978 Goldberg Variationen, BWV 988: Aria mit 30 Veränderungen aus Clavierübung IV Johann Sebastian Bach; Gustav Leonhardt 5 2
1978 Six Partitas for Solo Harpsichord Johann Sebastian Bach; James Weaver 1
1978 Six Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord / Two Sonatas for Violin and Basso Continuo Johann Sebastian Bach; Sonya Monosoff, James Weaver, Judith Davidoff 1
1978 Solflöjt 2 Vivaldi, Bach, Mozart, Grieg, Sommerfeldt, Rachmaninov, von Koch; Gunilla von Bahr, The Stockholm Chamber Ensemble, Jan‐Olav Wedin, Hans Fagius 1
1979 Baroque Favorites Albinoni, Bach, Cimarosa, Marcello, Vivaldi; Liona Boyd, English Chamber Orchestra, Sir Andrew Davis 4 1
1979 Brandenburg Concertos (complete) Johann Sebastian Bach; Collegium Aureum, Franzjosef Maier 1
1979 Das Musikalische Opfer BWV 1079 Johann Sebastian Bach; Musica Antiqua Köln, Reinhard Goebel 1
1979 Goldberg Variations / Aria and Ten Variations in the Italian Style Johann Sebastian Bach; Rosalyn Tureck 2
1980 Toccata BWV 911 / Partita BWV 826 / English Suite no. 2 BWV 807 Johann Sebastian Bach; Martha Argerich 3
1980 Brandenburgische Konzerte Johann Sebastian Bach; Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Sir Neville Marriner 1
1980 Die Brandenburgische Konzerte J. S. Bach; Brüggen, Kuijken, Bylsma, Leonhardt 4
1980 Gloria in excelsis Deo Johann Sebastian Bach: Münchener Bach‐Chor, Münchener Bach‐Orchester, Karl Richter 1
1980 Matthäus-Passion (1980 recording, not the 1959 one) Johann Sebastian Bach; Edith Mathis, Janet Baker, Peter Schreier, Dietrich Fischer‐Dieskau, Matti Salminen, Münchener Bach‐Chor, Münchener Bach‐Orchester, Karl Richter 3
1980 Toccata und Fuge - Die schönsten Melodien von Bach Johann Sebastian Bach 2
1981 Die Konzerte für 2 Cembali J.S. Bach; Trevor Pinnock, Kenneth Gilbert, The English Concert 1
1981 Die Konzerte für 3 und 4 Cembali Johann Sebastian Bach; Trevor Pinnock, Kenneth Gilbert, Lars Ulrik Mortensen, Nicholas Kraemer, The English Concert 5 2
1982 Suite no. 2 / Concerto / Trio Sonatas J. S. Bach; James Galway, Kyung-Wha Chung, Phillip Moll, Zagreb Soloists 4
1982 Violin Concertos 1 & 2 / Concerto for 2 Violins Johann Sebastian Bach; Jaap Schröder, Christopher Hirons, The Academy of Ancient Music, Christopher Hogwood 5 2
1982 The Grand Silbermann Organ in the Freiberg Cathedral Johann Sebastian Bach; Hans Otto 2
1982 Alfred Brendel Collection Vol. I: Bach Johann Sebastian Bach; Alfred Brendel 3
1982 Brandenburg Concertos / Musical Offering Bach; Linde Consort, Hans-Martin Linde 2
1982 Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1-3 Johann Sebastian Bach; The English Concert, Trevor Pinnock 2
1982 Brandenburgische Konzerte Nos. 2, 4, 6 Johann Sebastian Bach; The English Concert, Trevor Pinnock 1
1982 Brandenburgische Konzerte Nos. 3-5 Johann Sebastian Bach; Linde Consort 4 1
1982 Concerti for 2 Violins Bach, Vivaldi; Isaac Stern, Pinchas Zukerman 1
1982 Goldberg Variations (1981 recording) Johann Sebastian Bach; Glenn Gould 4.35 8
1982 Italian Concerto, BWV 971 / Fantasia, BWV 906 / Capriccio on the Departure of a Beloved Brother, BWV 992 / Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, BWV 903 / Four Duets, BWV 802-805 Johann Sebastian Bach; Tatiana Nikolaeva 1
1982 Konzerte für Violine a-moll BWV 1041 und E-dur BWV 1042 / Konzert für zwei Violinen d-moll BWV 1043 Johann Sebastian Bach; La Petite Bande, Sigiswald Kuijken 1

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