Johann Sebastian Bach
Born: 1685, Eisenach, Germany
Died: 1750, Leipzig, Germany
"Since our artistry has increased very much, and the taste has changed astonishingly, and accordingly the former style of music no longer seems to please our ears, considerable help is therefore all the more needed to choose and appoint such musicians as will satisfy the present musical taste, master the new kinds of music, and thus be in a position to do justice to the composer and his work."
Bach, one of the titans of Western music, relied on the favor of princes, kings, and town councils for employment throughout his life. He saw himself as a tradesman who happened to be a musician instead of a cobbler, a carpenter, or a baker. Bach produced a vast body of masterpieces inspired by his kaleidoscopic musical knowledge and his deeply felt Lutheran faith. Near the end of his life, he devoted himself increasingly to solving abstract musical problems, like those posed by the "royal theme" that generated The Musical Offering.
St. Matthew Passion (1729) Soloists, Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner (Archiv)
Goldberg Variations (1742) András Schiff (ECM New Series)