The quintessential Baroque composer, Johann Sebastian Bach, was born 338 years ago in Germany on either March 21, 1685 or March 31, 1685 – this time dispute relates to the change of calendars [Julian to Gregorian] during that time period. Because most musicologists celebrate Bach’s birthday on March 31, this blog also will celebrate his birthday on Friday March 31, 2023.
When you say Baroque music, the name Bach must first come up. He is one of, if not the most, influential person in classical music with his musical inventions, techniques and great compositions. Without Johann Sebastian Bach, it is doubtful, in my opinion, that classical music would have developed as fully as it did. Most of the great composers in the Classical and Romantic Era’s to follow [and even with children learning how to play classical music today] got their foundation from Bach’s musical inventions. Bach was a virtuoso organist whose upbringing in religion and deep faith led him to compose much sacred music for organ and for choral works. Bach had a fairly long life [for that period of time] of 65 years and he used this blessing by God to be a prolific composer of some of that greatest music ever written. He was a composer of cantatas and oratorios and many organ pieces and other keyboard pieces [mainly for harpsichord] and he was also an orchestral composer of concertos for violin and keyboard [that some have been transformed for the modern piano] and of orchestral suites and dances, and also of many great chamber music compositions.
From Wikipedia: Bach’s famous instructive ‘Well Tempered Clavier’ for keyboard [at the time – harpsichord] “consists of Books 1 and 2 with each book containing a prelude and fugue in each of the 24 major and minor keys in chromatic order from C major to B minor.”
Bach’s ‘Goldberg Variations’ for keyboard is “an aria with 30 variations” with an “unconventional structure: the variations build on the bass line of the aria, rather than its melody.”
|J.S. Bach [March 31, 1685 – July 28, 1750]|
Make no doubt about it, when one talks about the giants in classical music, J.S. Bach must be mentioned right near the top. Along with Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, Bach fills my list of who I believe are the top 4 most influential composers with regards to the development of music. [classical or non-classical].
Bach was the main developer of the polyphony technique that was a main characteristic in the Baroque period of music. Polyphony means ‘many voices’ and in the compositions was demonstrated by different thematic lines [voices] of music being played at the same time.
Without further ado, please turn up the volume and enjoy some of the greatest music ever composed by the genius, Johann Sebastian Bach to celebrate his 338th Birthday.
JS Bach: Toccata and Fugue in D minor:
JS Bach: Air on the G String:
JS Bach: Prelude and Fugue in C minor:
JS Bach: J.S. Bach: Brandenberg Concerto #2 in F Major, Movement 3, Allegro Assai:
JS Bach: Violin Concerto #1 in A minor:
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