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The White Hat Guide to

Johann Sebastian Bach

J. S. Bach

Born: 31 March 1685, Eisenach, [Germany]
Died: 28 July 1750, Leipzig, [Germany]

J S Bach

Widely regarded by many as the greatest composer who ever lived.


J. S. Bach is widely regarded as one of the greatest composers who ever lived yet was only held in moderate esteem by much of the musical establishment in his lifetime. True, he was regarded as a prodigious organist and if your church had commissioned a new organ then Bach was the man to come and put it through its paces and probably make recommendations about how it could be improved. Like most composers of the time he was a skilled improviser but there is a difference between improvising an atmospheric fantasia and improvising a tightly constructed fugue. Most could do the former but Bach could do both. Most composers of the time recognised Bach for his technical skills as a writer of music but relatively few recognised his towering status as a composer. One of those who did not fully recognise the full extent of his genius was Bach himself. He would probably recognise himself as skilled at his craft as a composer and as someone who paid great attention to detail and structure, but to think that he would be recognised by many in coming generations as the greatest composer of all time probably never entered his head. He was too busy composing for this week's church service and for the glory of God.

Some forthcoming Australian concerts and performances featuring the music of Bach:

Australian Chamber Orchestra - Bach

Cellist from Australian Chamber Orchestra

When it comes to dynasties of musicians and composers, the Bach family is one of the most remarkable, crowned of course by the mighty Johann Sebastian. However, his forebears were more than competent at their trade as this concert demonstrates, while his two most prominent sons - Carl Phillip Emanuel and Johann Christian - explored new paths towards the ‘storm and stress’ style and Haydn and the rococo style and Mozart respectively

It was no surprise that when White Hat compiled our list top 100 concertos, J. S. Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins came out as number 1. Not even the best efforts of generations of juvenile violin students have been able to destroy this work. Imagine then how it shines when played by some of Australia's finest - the Australian Chamber Orchestra with Richard Tognetti (Director) and Anna Dowsley (Principal Violin) as violin soloists. Other fine soloists include Anna Dowsley (mezzo-soprano), Helena Rathbone (violin),  Erin Helyard (harpsichord & fortepiano) and Timo-Veikko Valve (cello) in C. P. E. Bach’s virtuoistic Cello Concerto.

  • J. L. Bach Suite in G major: Overture
  • H. Bach Sonata à 5 in F major
  • J. C. Bach Meine Freundin, du bist schön: Ciaconna “Mein Freund is Mein”
  • J. S. Bach Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, BWV1043 (one of White Hat's Top 100 Concerti)
  • J. S. Bach Cantata “Widerstehe doch der Sünde” BWV54: “Widerstehe doch der Sünde”
  • J. S. Bach Cantata “Ich habe genug”, BWV82: “Schlummert ein, ihr matten Augen”
  • Mozart (after J. C. Bach) Piano Concerto No.12 in A major, K.414: II. Andante
  • J. C. F. Bach Sinfonia in D minor: I. Allegro
  • J. C. F. Bach Die Amerikanerin: “Mein Herz fleucht ihr entgegen”
  • C. P. E. Bach Cello Concerto in A major, Wq.172

Melbourne - Melbourne Recital Centre - Sat 18 Jun 7.30pm; Mon 20 Jun 7.30pm
MelbourneArts Centre Melbourne - Sun 19 Jun 2.30pm
Adelaide - Adelaide Town Hall - Tue 21 Jun 7.30pm
Perth - Perth Concert Hall - Wed 22 Jun 7.30pm
Sydney - City Recital Hall - Sat 25 Jun 7pm; Sun 26 Jun 2pm; Tue 28 Jun 8pm; Wed 29 Jun 7pm
Canberra - Llewellyn Hall - Mon 27 Jun 8pm
Sydney - Pier 2/3, The Neilson - Fri 29 Jul 1pm - Relaxed Performance

Pricing and online ticket sales available on Australian Chamber Orchestra website



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Selected Sheet Music by Bach

17266346 look inside The Complete Cantatas (Samtliche Kantaten, Chorale und Motetten). Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). This edition: Paperback, Urtext edition. Paperback. Barenreiter Study scores. Study scores in a sturdy box for shipping. 19 volumes with more than 11,000 pages. Sacred. Study score, Anthology. 11204 pages. Published by Baerenreiter Verlag (BA.TP2004).
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