Johann Sebastian Bach – Sheet Music & Scores

“Music owes as much to Bach as religion to its founder.” (Robert Schumann)

It is astounding how abundant and inexhaustible are his works. Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) is more than the epitome of baroque music, and one wonders how a single person could accomplish so much in one lifetime. Show others the brilliance of Bach through Stretta!

Bach – The Court Musician

After a number of engagements as an organist, in which he often confused more than supported parishes with his improvisational skills and harmonic experiments, in 1708, J. S. Bach was appointed Court Organist & Chamber Musician by the Duke of Saxony-Weimar. It was during this period that he composed most of his organ music. In 1714 he was promoted to Concert Master of the Court Orchestra, and one of his duties was to compose weekly cantatas for the Sunday Service, laying the foundations for the 300 or more Bach Cantatas, of which around 200 remain. For his next position, as Kapellmeister to the Prince of Anhalt-Köthen from 1717, Bach’s role no longer required him to compose sacred music, so it was here that many of any his instrumental works were developed, including The Brandenburg Concertos.

The Thomaskantor Bach

With his last role as Cantor of St. Thomas in 1723, Bach held his first and only official position working for the city, the city of Leipzig. He was responsible for the music at the four main churches in Leipzig, and he taught at St. Thomas’ Boarding School. The St. Thomas’ Boys’ Choir is still one of the most important, and traditional boys’ choirs in the world today. In his final years, despite his steadily declining sight, Bach still created works that are the sum, and pinnacle of counterpoint, such as The Musical Sacrifice or the The Art of Fugue.

Bach – A World Heritage

As was common in the 18th century, Bach’s works were quickly forgotten after his death. People were only concerned with new music. It was Bach’s sons, and his successors at St Thomas’, who preserved his memory. Composers of the First Viennese School, like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven, especially admired Bach’s counterpoint, and learned a great deal from him. In the 19th century Bach Renaissance, the St. Matthew Passion was famously rediscovered, and performed in Berlin in 1829 by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. Another important milestone was the first complete edition of Bach’s works, which was created between 1850-1899. Today’s “New Bach Edition” was published between 1954-2007 by Bärenreiter and has become the authoritative Bach edition. The Original Manuscript of Bach’s B Minor Mass was declared a UNESCO World Document Heritage in 2015.

The Composing Sons of J. S. Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach came from a long line of musicians, whose family dated back centuries. Four of his sons continued this tradition, also becoming composers, ending up in London and Milan. With their works, they bridge the gap between baroque and classical music.

The world of Johann Sebastian Bach