Johann Sebastian Bach

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  2. February 16, 2013 8:11 pm

Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach stands as the master of Western classical music, credited with the development of tonal harmony. At the dawn of the Baroque era, Bach also developed the technique of counterpoint. His ability to interweave four or more independent lines of music is nothing short of astounding. Bach was a master of every form of music that he touched, from solo keyboard and organ works to cantatas and orchestral pieces.

Employed predominately as a church musician, Bach wrote a huge number of cantatas and sacred musical works, including the St. Matthew Passion and St. John Passion, both written for Good Friday vespers, and the Mass in B Minor.

His keyboard works include the ground-breaking “Well-Tempered Clavier.” In this work, Bach composed a prelude and fugue in each of the 24 major and minor keys in chromatic order from C major through B major. He also wrote inventions and sinfonias (2-part and 3-part keyboard words, respectively), dance suite collections and variations, including the Goldberg Variations. His organ compositions include the masterful preludes and fugues, and his hallmark orchestral work is the Brandenburg Concertos.

The above mentioned compositions are just the tip of the iceberg of J.S. Bach’s prolific body of work. Sadly, Bach’s compositions fell into obscurity after his death, even though he produced several sons who were also composers. It wasn’t until well into the 19th century that Bach’s pieces were unearthed and brought into the public arena once again. Felix Mendelssohn is credited with bringing the St. Matthew Passion to life after being given the manuscript as a birthday gift from his grandmother.

Without the genius of Johann Sebastian Bach, the musical world would not have moved forward and developed into the new and exciting art form that he left to future generations.

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