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Bach - Piano Music

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685—1750) lost both his parents at a young age and was sent to live with his brother Johann Christoph, where he received his first musical instruction. 18 years old, he was appointed organist in Arnstadt, where the church authorities were confused by his "curious embellishments" of the chorales; their irritation increased when he prolonged by several months the leave granted him to visit Lübeck and attend Buxtehude´s concerts.
He then worked for the Duke Wilhelm of Weimar for almost ten years, but as he didn’t get the promotion that he wanted he eventually applied for the post of Kapellmeister to the musically talented Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen. Duke Wilhelm was not pleased and threw Bach in jail for a month before discharging him.
In Cöthen, Bach completed many instrumental works, including the first book of The Well-Tempered Clavier, and the Brandenburg Concertos. In 1720, his first wife Maria Barbara died suddenly, leaving Bach with four young children, including Wilhelm Friedemann and Carl Philipp Emanuel.
The following year he married Anna Magdalena, who was to bear him a further 13, of whom ten died in infancy. When Prince Leopold married, the good times in Cöthen ended, as his wife resented his preoccupation with music. This led Bach to apply for the post of Thomaskantor at Leipzig, where during his first five years Bach completed three annual cycles of cantatas, the St John (1724) and St Matthew (1727) Passions, and many other sacred works. How he was able to stay on this exalted level of creativity for so long remains a mystery, as his resources actually were quite limited: when he set out his minimum requirements for a well-regulated church music, he received in response from the church authorities only a threat to reduce his salary.

During his last years Bach created works of a somewhat abstract and general nature. The B minor Mass is an exemplar of the mastery he had attained in all the main sacred genres, while pieces like the Goldberg Variations and the Variations for organ on Vom Himmel hoch explore canonic writing. The Art of Fugue, a vast compendium of contrapuntal techniques, remained unfinished.
Towards the end of his life Bach went blind. A contemporary newspaper reported that the cause of his death at age 65 was "from the unhappy consequences of a very unsuccessful eye operation", performed by the British surgeon John Taylor.

Major works:
Choral & Vocal: Mass in b minor, St. Matthew Passion, St. John Passion, Christmas Oratorio, Easter Oratorio, over 200 cantatas.
Keyboard: Chorale Preludes, Preludes, Fugues, Toccatas & Fantasias for organ
English Suites, French Suites, Goldberg Variations, Italian Concerto, Partitas, The Well-Tempered Clavier 1&2, Inventions and Sinfonias, Art of Fugue.
Chamber: three Sonatas and three Partitas for unaccompanied violin, six Suites for unaccompanied cello.
Orchestral: Brandenburg Concertos, Orchestral Suites or Overtures (including "Air on the G string"), violin and harpsichord concertos.


Quotes:
"The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul"


Statement of the Leipzig City Council when Bach was appointed Thomaskantor:
"Since the best man [Telemann] could not be obtained, we were forced to fall back on mediocrities."

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Total pieces by Bach: 139

Collections - Bach
Bach - Concerto Transcriptions (16 pieces)
Bach - Concertos (1 pieces)
Bach - English Suites (6 pieces)
Bach - French Suites (6 pieces)
Bach - Inventions (15 pieces)
Bach - Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach (5 pieces)
Bach - Partitas (6 pieces)
Bach - Sinfonias (15 pieces)
Bach - WTC 1 (24 pieces)
Bach - WTC 2 (24 pieces)
Bach - Miscellaneous Pieces (21 pieces)





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