Johann Sebastian Bach

  • Issue: May 2000
  • Designer: Daniel Goldberg
  • Stamps Size: 30.8 mm x 30.8 mm      
  • Plate no.: 410            
  • Sheet of 15 stamps, Tabs: 5
  • Printers: Government Printers
  • Method of printing: Offset

Johann Sebastian Bach is perhaps the most revered composer of all times,
along with Mozart and Beethoven. This admiration, however, has taken on different aspects in every generation. During his lifetime he was chiefly admired as organ and keyboard virtuoso; and even though in his later years his music was viewed by some as too 'learned' and pedantic, it was still highly appreciated.

For about a century after his death, his work remained little known; but it was never entirely forgotten, thanks to a small group of enthusiasts, which included figures such as Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Chopin and others. It was only since mid-twentieth century that all barriers fell between Bach and the general public. His music has now attained enormous popularity, being also 'reinterpreted' into jazz and pop idioms. The vast complexity of Bach's music no longer forms an obstacle to his listeners.

Bach's music is the culmination of the Baroque era in music. Acquiring
knowledge from nearly all his great predecessors, as well as most important contemporaries, Bach had the "last word" in nearly every musical field of his time (opera excepted). In the genres of Mass, cantata, oratorio, concerto, sonata, suite, prelude and fugue, he surpassed most achievements of his time, both in complexity and expression.

The music of Bach is customarily divided into several style periods, coinciding with the various positions he held. His early works were mostly organ music. As conductor of the Prince of Coethen's orchestra, he concentrated on instrumental and orchestral music (the Brandenburg Concertos). His last 27
years were spent as Cantor (director of church music) of the town Leipzig, where he composed most of his great choral masterpieces, cantatas
and passions, the Magnificat and the Mass. It was during this period that he also composed new forms of instrumental music, which seem more abstract and "archaic" than his earlier works, but are in fact without a precedent and
no sequel in the history of music: the Goldberg Variations, The Musical Offering (dedicated to Frederick the Great, King of Prussia), and the Art of Fugue.

Ido Abravaya

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Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)