Bach, Johann Sebastian
Johann Sebastian Bach was a Baroque-period German composer and artist. He is renowned for such musical works as the Brandenburg Concertos and the Goldberg Variations, as well as for vocal music, including The Passion of St Matthew and the B minor Mass. He has been widely recognized as one of the best composers of all time since the 19th-century Bach Revival. Through his mastery of counterpoint, harmonic and motivational organization, and his adaptation of rhythms, shapes, and textures from abroad, mostly from Italy and France, Bach enriched existing German styles. Hundreds of cantatas, both religious and secular, contain Bach's compositions. He wrote church music from the Latin Church, Passions, oratorios, and motets. Lutheran hymns were also adopted in his broader vocal compositions and his four-part chorales and religious songs. He composed extensively for organs and other musical keyboards. Bach also wrote concertos for violin and harpsichord, for instance, suites, and orchestra and chamber music. Several of his works utilize the styles of canon and fugue.
Bach was mainly respected as an organist in the 18th century, although his keyboard music, such as The Well-Tempered Clavier, was praised for its didactic characteristics. The 19th century saw the publishing of Bach's significant biographies, and much of his documented music had been printed by the end of the century. The propagation of the composer's scholarship persisted by specifically dedicated periodicals (and later websites) and other publications such as the Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (BWV, a numbered catalog of his works) and modern critical versions of his compositions. A plethora of settings, including, for example, the Air on the G String, and records, such as three separate box sets of full recordings of the composer's oeuvre to celebrate the 250th anniversary of his death, further popularized his work.
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