Johann Sebastian Bach's stature as a composer of extraordinary talent and widespread influence is so firmly established in Western culture that it is difficult to believe that only 150 years ago his works lay in veritable obscurity, unknown to all but a small group of scholars. It is largely thanks to ohn, who essentially effected a revival of the composer's music through his rediscovery and promulgation of the St Matthew Passion, besides other pieces, that his works are today regarded as pinnacles of music expression. That they are among the most performed and widely attended is in no doubt; in Holland alone, thousands of singers and musicians are involved in dozens of performances of the St Matthew Passion in Holy Week, with hundreds of thousands listening in churches and concert halls, or gathered around the radio, to what has been described as 'the Gospel according to Bach'.
Bringing together all of his works, this dynamic 142-CD set offers a resounding impression of this great spirit of our Western culture, presenting dynamic performances - many period-based, many acclaimed by the international press - that are divided according to genre, thus making for a highly user-friendly compendium. The set draws on all periods of his career, tracing the development of a style that was much influenced by contemporary and past fashions but which was always adapted to Bach's own purpose, often far surpassing the models on which he drew. The German composer travelled a great deal from city to city, and the different circumstances of his various positions are reflected in the great range of works comprising his output: while his early years are dominated by much keyboard music, on account of the numerous organist posts he held during this period, later positions at various courts accorded him more personal and artistic freedom, in Cöthen, for example, Prince Leopold's passion for music-making and his renowned resident orchestra resulted in a string of unforgettable works including the Brandenburg Concertos, the Solo Cello Suites and the Well-Tempered Clavier Part 1, beside many others.
Bach was a master of all genres, whether sacred, secular, instrumental or vocal, and his oeuvre is a rich mixture of severe Baroque craftsmanship and expressive Romanticism. Thomas Zehetmair, Kristóf Baráti, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, René Jacobs, Peter Schreier and Lucia Popp are just a handful of the first-class performers and ensembles gracing this set.
- 142 CDs representing the entirety of Johann Sebastian Bach's oeuvre in historically informed performances. This includes all 200 sacred cantatas recorded for Brilliant Classics on period instruments and sung by the Holland Boys Choir.
- For reasons of completeness, pure musical enjoyment, scholarly research, attractive, spacesaving design and price, you cannot afford to be without Brilliant Classics' Complete Bach Edition.
- Extensive liner notes, sungs texts and complete tracklisting with performers available for download, by clicking on 'Download booklet' below the cover.