Bach – Piano Music
During his last years Bach created works of a somewhat abstract and general nature. The B minor Mass is an exemplar of the mastery he had attained in all the main sacred genres, while pieces like the Goldberg Variations and the Variations for organ on Vom Himmel hoch explore canonic writing. The Art of Fugue, a vast compendium of contrapuntal techniques, remained unfinished.
Towards the end of his life Bach went blind. A contemporary newspaper reported that the cause of his death at age 65 was “from the unhappy consequences of a very unsuccessful eye operation”, performed by the British surgeon John Taylor.
Choral & Vocal: Mass in b minor, St. Matthew Passion, St. John Passion, Christmas Oratorio, Easter Oratorio, over 200 cantatas.
Keyboard: Chorale Preludes, Preludes, Fugues, Toccatas & Fantasias for organ
English Suites, French Suites, Goldberg Variations, Italian Concerto, Partitas, The Well-Tempered Clavier 1&2, Inventions and Sinfonias, Art of Fugue.
Chamber: three Sonatas and three Partitas for unaccompanied violin, six Suites for unaccompanied cello.
Orchestral: Brandenburg Concertos, Orchestral Suites or Overtures (including “Air on the G string”), violin and harpsichord concertos.
“The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul”
Statement of the Leipzig City Council when Bach was appointed Thomaskantor:
“Since the best man [Telemann] could not be obtained, we were forced to fall back on mediocrities.”