Baroque: Johann Sebastian Bach
Somebody once said with a little twist of words in German: “Er soll nicht Bach heissen, er soll Meer genannt werden!”
That is a correct description of his significance as (Baroque)composer. Myself, I did “know” Bach from my younger years, because his name was above many rhymed versions of Psalms and Hymns. I also remember the atmosphere of the St. Matthew Passion on Good Friday pretty well.
Later on, I found out (amongst others on guitar) that Bach was not the musical flagship of the Reformation, particularly considering the vast collection of profane works with his signature.
Bach’s life and work has been researched extensively, so you will not find a lengthy biography here.
Bach was born in Eisenach in 1685. He originated from a very musical family and later it showed that his offspring continued the tradition. He became an orphan as a nine-year old and laded in the household of his eldest brother, who recognized his talent and arranged his musical training.
A turbulent musical career took him to Arnstadt, Mülhausen, Weimar, Anhalt-Köthen and Leipzig. In that period, he composed 1128 works, at least according to the numbering system of the Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (BWV), covering a broad spectrum of instruments and ensembles.
Bach introduced the well-tempered tuning that enabled to play relatively easily in tune in all keys. This tremendously decreased the effort of tuning in orchestras and increased the flexibility of musicianship because there is a stable tonal system. In his Wohltemperiertes Klavier, Bach demonstrates this system by means of compositions in all 24 major and minor keys.
Bach passed away in Leipzig in 1750.