BACH, J.S.: Orchestral Suites Nos. 1-4, BWV 1066-1069

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Johann Sebastian Bach(1685-1750)

Ouverture (Suite) No.

1 in C major, BWV 1066

Ouverture (Suite) No.

2 in B minor, BWV 1067

Ouverture (Suite) No.

3 in D major, BWV 1068

Ouverture (Suite) No.

4 in D major, BWV 1069

Bach's early careerwas as an organist and as an expert on the construction of the instrument. In1717, however, he moved to Cothen as Kapellmeister to Prince Leopold ofAnhalt-Coethen and there was able to devote more time to the composition andperformance of instrumental music, largely through the Pietist leanings of thecourt and a consequent diminution of church music. It seems probable that thefirst and fourth of the four orchestral suites or Ouvertures were writtenduring this period. It has been suggested that the second and third were writtenduring Bach's final period of 27 years in Leipzig. While his officialresponsibilities there were with church music, he was involved too with thesecular repertoire of the University Collegium Musicum, founded by Telemann.

The two suites may well have been written for that ensemble and it has beensuggested that the flute part of the second suite was designed for the Frenchflautist Buffardin, who had met Bach's younger brother in Constantinople andwas, in any case, employed in Dresden at the court of Augustus II, overlord ofLeipzig.

The first Ouvertureor Suite, in the key of C major, is scored for two oboes, bassoon,strings and continuo. The opening Ouverture, in French style, followsthe strongly marked rhythm of the introduction with the customary fugue, inwhich the solo woodwind instruments have their own moments of solitaryprominence, in contrast to the strings and continuo. The first of the dances isa Courante, not paired, as it usually is, with an Allemande. Ofthe following dances, which include an example of the less usual Italian

adopted into the French court tradition, four are playedalternatively, with a second dance framed by a repetition of the first of thepair. The second Gavotte allows a fuller part to the solo woodwindinstruments, while the second Menuet is for strings and continuo and thesecond Bourree for wind only. The Suite ends with two Passepieds,a faster version of the Minuet, with rhythmic features that had, bythe eighteenth century, become characteristic.

Suite No. 2 in B minor is very much in theFrench style, as were many compositions of this kind in Germany in the firsthalf of the eighteenth century, when French national taste predominated. The Ouvertureis in the style developed under Lully in France, a solemn introduction inmarked rhythm leading to a more rapid fugal section, ending with a return tothe solemnity of the opening. A lively Rondeau follows and a stately Sarabande.

The two Bourrees are played in alternation, followed by aPolonaise and succeeding variation by the flute. The Suite ends witha Minuet and a Badinerie, a light-hearted and brilliantconclusion.

Suite No. 3 in D major is scored for three trumpets, timpani andoboes, with the usual strings and continuo. The opening French Ouverture, withits characteristic solemn introduction and following fugue is followed by an Air,played by strings and continuo, a movement later popularised in anarrangement by the nineteenth century violinist August Wilhelmj as Air onthe G string which in its original form it is certainly not. The pair of Gavottesare played in alternation, followed by a Bourree and a lively Gigue,the most frequent conclusion to any set of dances.

The fourth of Bach'sorchestral Suites, also in the key of D major, is scored for threetrumpets and timpani, three oboes, bassoon, strings and continuo. After the compoundrhythm of the fugal section of the Ouverture and a return to theslower music of the opening comes a pair of Bourrees, played inalternation, a Gavotte, and a pair of Menuets, with the secondplayed by strings and continuo alone. The Suite ends with a cheerfulmovement bearing the title Rejouissance, which proclaims both itscharacter and the French provenance of the whole form, adopted and translatedby Bach into suitable German musical terms.

Item number 8554043
Barcode 636943404324
Release date 12/01/1999
Category Baroque
Label Naxos Classics
Media type CD
Number of units 1
Conductors Dvorak, Jaroslav
Dvorak, Jaroslav
Orchestras Istropolitana, Capella
Istropolitana, Capella
Disc: 1
Suite No. 4, D major, BWV 1069
1 I. Ouverture
2 II. Courante
3 III. Gavotte I and II
4 IV. Forlane
5 V. Menuet I and II
6 VI. Bourre I and II
7 VII. Passepied I and II
8 I. Ouverture
9 II. Rondeau
10 III. Sarabande
11 IV. Bourre I and II
12 V. Polonaise
13 VI. Menuet
14 VII. Badinerie
15 I. Ouverture
16 II. Air
17 III. Gavotte I and II
18 IV. Bourree
19 V. Gigue
20 I. Ouverture
21 II. Bourree I and II
22 III. Gavotte
23 IV. Menuet I and II
24 V. Rejouissance
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