Even though it’s cliche, can’t help but love Cello Suite No.1.
I love the opening “Kyrie” from the B-minor mass. It’s incredible.
There are tons of great cantatas. Try Cantata no. 80 – “Ein feste Burg” (A mighty fortress). Cantata 147 has the “Jesu bleibet meine Freude” movement that everyone knows.
One of my favorites:
+1 on Cello Suite No. 1.
Chorale for Organ, BWV 650: “Kommst du nun, Jesu von himmel her unter” is a sentimental favorite since it was our wedding recessional.
I’ve loved Partita No. 2 in D Minor for Solo Violin, BWV 1004: Chaconne ever since I read this story just after I moved to DC.
But at the end of the day, you just can’t beat the Brandenburg Concerti.
The Brandenburg Concerti…don’t ask me to select one. I love all things Bach, and my brother Dave and I have listened to the Brandenburg pieces so often that we can whistle them together…if we aren’t looking at each other. ;)
1. J.S.Bach: The Learned Musician by Christoph Wolff
2. The St. Matthew Passion
The Largo ma non tanto from his concerto for two violins is indescribably beautiful.
I have on my to read list:
Pelikan, Jaroslav. Bach Among the Theologians. Wipf & Stock, 2003.
Stapert, Calvin. My Only Comfort: Death, Deliverance, and Discipleship in the Music of Bach. Eerdmans, 2000.
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring…I love almost everything by Bach, but that is such a perfect piece of music. And I do love the Brandenburgs, too.
There’s a great video biography of his life called Glory To God Alone: Life Of J.S. Bach.