Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)

While in his lifetime Johann Sebastian Bach was highly respected as a keyboard virtuoso, he earned by the end of the 18th century a unique historical position as a composer.

Johann Sebastian Bach's output incorporates practically every musical form of his time except opera. Bachs creative production was generally bound up with the factors of his place of work and his employers. So his compositions reflect often the priorities of his professional appointments. The most organ works were composed while the positions as an organist in Arnstadt, Mühlhausen and Weimar. His complete work represents all major types: prelude, toccata, fugue, invention, forms of chorale arrangements. The vocal works especially the large repertory of cantata, the St Matthew and St John Passion belongs to the period of his appointment as director of music in Leipzig. During this time furthermore he composed a body of chamber music to conform his requirement for concerts and other purpose. Bachs extensive knowledge of the musical repertory, the types and styles of compositions of his time and the most important contemporaries was a decisive factor behind his art.