Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) came from an already well-known family of musicians, a fact easily forgotten given his titanic talent and extensive output. It wasn't enough for Johann Sebastian to master the art of counterpoint (how two or more notes interact); he found humorous, creative and innovative ways to create music in an era gridlocked with compositional rules and expectations. From the seemingly simple Inventions and Sinfonias to the size and depth of St. Matthew's Passion, Johann Sebastian's music still baffles, intrigues and impresses composers, performers and listeners. We are collecting music, coverage and news about Bach from around Classical MPR and our affiliated programs. Have a look (and listen) and enjoy.

Bach's Life and Work

Stories about Bach, and the music he created.

  • Bach Playlist: The Brandenburgs
    Bach wrote his six Brandenburg Concertos for the Margrave of Brandenburg, Christian Ludwig, possibly hoping to secure employment in the margrave's court. Lacking the necessary virtuosic players, the margrave never heard the concertos, and the manuscripts weren't published until 1850, one-hundred years after Bach's death.June 16, 2012
  • St. John Passion by J.S. Bach, as performed by the Bach Society of Minnesota
    The Bach Society of Minnesota presented a performance of the St. John Passion, BWV 245, on March 24th, 2012 at St. Mary's Chapel at St. Paul Seminary. You can hear the St. John Passion in its entirety on Friday, April 6th, at 10 a.m.April 5, 2012
  • Harp, Not Harpsichord, in Bach's Sonatas
    A new Bach disc combines violin with an instrument that Bach himself rarely used -- the harp. Its gradations of loud and soft add a new dimension to the performance of these pieces.April 3, 2012
  • Bach: Placing Timeless Music in Time - Part 2 of an Essay by Bill Morelock
    For the anniversary of Bach's birth, even as we marvel at the unearthly nature of the music, we might stop and remember that Bach also had to earn a living. Here's how and where he earned a paycheck during the 45 years of his working life.March 20, 2012
  • Bach: Placing Timeless Music in Time - Part 1 of an Essay by Bill Morelock
    For the anniversary of Bach's birth, even as we marvel at the unearthly nature of the music, we might stop and remember that Bach also had to earn a living. Here's how and where he earned a paycheck during the 45 years of his working life.March 19, 2012
  • "Before Bach's Birthday" Bash
    Plan ahead to participate in the "Before Bach's Birthday" Bash on March 17, 2012, a sequence of five hour-long all-Bach performance events at four Minneapolis churches, featuring organists, pianists, singers and other instrumentalists in advance celebration of Johann Sebastian Bach's 327th Birthday (which comes on Wednesday, March 21)March 17, 2012
  • Regional Spotlight: Bach and Jazz
    Paul Boehnke, the music director of the Bach Society of Minnesota, has an adventurous palate. "Take a sweet piece of fruit on one hand and it's sweet. Take a pungent cheese on the other and it's pungent. If you put the two together you get something brand new!" The Bach Society was joined by a team of well-known jazz musicians from the twin cities in a session at the Maud Moon Weyerhaeuser Studio to reprise a program titled: Bach and Jazz. Their sweet/pungent performances are in this week's Regional Spotlight.February 23, 2012
  • New Classical Tracks - Musical Speech: The Poetry of Bach and Schubert
    Pianist Simone Dinnerstein's love of Bach is a constant. And on her latest recording, she once again returns to Bach's musical world. But this time, she also chose to include music by another of her favorite composers: Franz Schubert. The music she chose to record has a beautiful and very communicative quality, and she wanted those qualities to represented by the title of the new release: Something Almost Being Said.February 15, 2012
  • New Classical Tracks - Air, The Bach Album
    On Anne Akiko Meyers' latest release, titled, "Air, A Bach Album," which celebrates the music of Bach, she experimented with a technique familiar to the world of popular music.February 8, 2012
  • SymphonyCast presents J.S. Bach Christmas Oratorio
    For the holiday, the first three parts of Johann Sebastian Bach's beloved Christmas Oratorio - from Dresden, where an annual performance of this inspired music is a treasured tradition. Tune in on Sunday, December 25 at 1:00 p.m. to hear this joyful work.December 23, 2011

Complete Works of Bach

Complete Works of Bach

Bach in the news

Coverage of Bach from the Classical Notes blog.

  • Bach by the numbers
    Was J.S. Bach fascinated by the number 14? Apparently the composer's delight at numbers and numerical puzzles was substantial enough to be the premise for a special exhibition at the Bach Museum in Eisenach, Germany.
  • Was Bach a teenage bully?
    New research indicates that one of the greatest composers of all time may have a life story that's been cleaned-up to preserve the image created by his pristine works.
  • Sellar Stages Bach
    Peter Sellars stages Bach's St. Matthew Passion in a new DVD from the Berlin Philharmonic
  • How I Like My Bach
    I was preparing for an interview and, naturally, I got pulled into that Internet vortex - listening to recordings and watching videos of Johann Sebastian Bach's Cello Suites. There are dozens of videos. Dozens and dozens and dozens.
  • Bach Visualization
    This is a fascinating visualization of the Prelude to Bach's Cello Suites. I like how it shows the chordal and melodic structure in a whole different way; the musical line forming the broken chords and flowing into the melody is...
  • The SPCO: Bach - The Art of the Fugue
    This Thursday through Saturday (Oct. 13-15), The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra is exploring selections from J.S. Bach's The Art of the Fugue.
  • Bach You Very Much, Mr. Sharp Nelson
    You like the Bach 'Cello Suites? How about clones and lighsabers and awesome camera angles? How about all of them together?
  • Walk or roll for Bach
    "Who's the greatest classical composer of them all?" asks Rob Hubbard of the Pioneer Press. If you agree that it's the guy celebrating a birthday Saturday with 324 candles on his cake, then put your walking shoes on (or maybe...
  • Many Faces of Bach, Part 2
    What did J. S. Bach's own face really look like? Read about a new reconstruction here....
  • Oops, Bach did it again.
    Fugue (fyoog) n. 1. Music An imitative polyphonic composition in which a theme or themes are stated successively in all of the voices of the contrapuntal structure. 2. Psychiatry A pathological amnesiac condition during which one is apparently conscious of...
  • Baroque 'n' roll
    You may have read the news that former members of the band Procol Harum are fighting over authorship of the organ melody in their 1967 hit, "A Whiter Shade of Pale." You have to wonder about the grounds for the...


Bach and You

We're collecting stories about Johann's life or music on listeners of Classical MPR. What's your Bach story?

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