The English Suites, BWV 806–811, are a set of six suites written by the German composer Johann Sebastian Bach for harpsichord (or clavichord) and generally thought to be the earliest of his 19 suites for keyboard, the others being the six French Suites, BWV 812–817, the six Partitas, BWV 825-830 and the Overture in the French style, BWV 831.
A suite, in Western classical music and jazz, is an ordered set of instrumental or orchestral/concert band pieces. It originated in the late 14th century as a pairing of dance tunes and grew in scope to comprise up to five dances, sometimes with a prelude, by the early 17th century. The separate movements were often thematically and tonally linked. The term can also be used to refer to similar forms in other musical traditions, such as the Turkish fasıl and the Arab waslah and nuubaat.
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He is known for instrumental compositions such as the Art of Fugue, the Brandenburg Concertos, and the Goldberg Variations as well as for vocal music such as the St Matthew Passion and the Mass in B minor. Since the 19th-century Bach Revival he has been generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.
A harpsichord is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard which activates a row of levers that in turn trigger a mechanism that plucks one or more strings with a small plectrum.
These six suites for keyboard are thought to be the earliest set that Bach composed aside from several miscellaneous suites written when he was much younger. Originally, their date of composition was thought to have been between 1718 and 1720, but more recent research suggests that the composition was likely earlier, around 1715, while the composer was living in Weimar.[ citation needed ].
Weimar is a city in the federal state of Thuringia, Germany. It is located in Central Germany between Erfurt in the west and Jena in the east, approximately 80 kilometres southwest of Leipzig, 170 kilometres north of Nuremberg and 170 kilometres west of Dresden. Together with the neighbour-cities Erfurt and Jena it forms the central metropolitan area of Thuringia with approximately 500,000 inhabitants, whereas the city itself counts a population of 65,000. Weimar is well known because of its large cultural heritage and its importance in German history.
Bach's English Suites display less affinity with Baroque English keyboard style than do the French Suites to French Baroque keyboard style; the name "English" is thought to date back to a claim made by the 19th-century Bach biographer Johann Nikolaus Forkel that these works might have been composed for an English nobleman, but no evidence has emerged to substantiate this claim.[ citation needed ] It has also been suggested that the name is a tribute to Charles Dieupart, whose fame was greatest in England, and on whose Six Suittes de clavessin Bach's English Suites were in part based.
Johann Nikolaus Forkel was a German musician, musicologist and music theorist.
Charles Dieupart was a French harpsichordist, violinist, and composer. Although he was known as Charles to his contemporaries, his real name may have been François. He was most probably born in Paris, but spent much of his life in London, where he settled sometime after 1702/1703. A prominent member of the Drury Lane musical establishment, Dieupart was active both as composer and performer and actively participated in the musical life of the city. However, after about 1712 he earned his income mostly by teaching, and in his later years lived in poverty. He is best remembered today for a collection of six harpsichord suites which influenced Johann Sebastian Bach's English Suites.
Surface characteristics of the English Suites strongly resemble those of Bach's French Suites and Partitas, particularly in the sequential dance-movement structural organization and treatment of ornamentation. These suites also resemble the Baroque French keyboard suite typified by the generation of composers including Jean-Henri d'Anglebert, and the dance-suite tradition of French lutenists that preceded it.
Jean-Henri d'Anglebert was a French composer, harpsichordist and organist. He was one of the foremost keyboard composers of his day.
A lute is any plucked string instrument with a neck and a deep round back enclosing a hollow cavity, usually with a sound hole or opening in the body. More specifically, the term "lute" can refer to an instrument from the family of European lutes. The term also refers generally to any string instrument having the strings running in a plane parallel to the sound table. The strings are attached to pegs or posts at the end of the neck, which have some type of turning mechanism to enable the player to tighten the tension on the string or loosen the tension before playing, so that each string is tuned to a specific pitch. The lute is plucked or strummed with one hand while the other hand "frets" the strings on the neck's fingerboard. By pressing the strings on different places of the fingerboard, the player can shorten or lengthen the part of the string that is vibrating, thus producing higher or lower pitches (notes).
In the English Suites especially, Bach's affinity with French lute music is demonstrated by his inclusion of a prelude for each suite, departing from an earlier tradition of German derivations of French suite (those of Johann Jakob Froberger and Georg Boehm are examples), which saw a relatively strict progression of the dance movements (Allemande, Courante, Sarabande and Gigue) and which did not typically feature a Prelude. Unlike the unmeasured preludes of French lute or keyboard style, however, Bach's preludes in the English Suites are composed in strict meter.
A prelude is a short piece of music, the form of which may vary from piece to piece. The prelude may be thought of as a preface. While, during the Baroque era, for example, it may have served as an introduction to succeeding movements of a work that were usually longer and more complex, it may also have been a stand-alone piece of work during the Romantic era. It generally features a small number of rhythmic and melodic motifs that recur through the piece. Stylistically, the prelude is improvisatory in nature. The prelude also may refer to an overture, particularly to those seen in an opera or an oratorio.
Johann Jakob Froberger was a German Baroque composer, keyboard virtuoso, and organist. Among the most famous composers of the era, he was influential in developing the musical form of the suite of dances in his keyboard works. His harpsichord pieces are highly idiomatic and programmatic.
An allemande is a renaissance and baroque dance, and one of the most popular instrumental dance styles in baroque music, with notable examples by Couperin, Purcell, Bach and Handel. It is often the first movement of a baroque suite of dances, paired with a subsequent courante, though it is sometimes preceded by an introduction or prelude.
The key sequence follows the same series of notes as the chorale "Jesu, meine Freude"; it is unestablished whether or not this is accidental.
"Jesu, meine Freude" is a hymn in German, written by Johann Franck in 1650, with a melody by Johann Crüger. The song first appeared in Crüger's hymnal Praxis pietatis melica in 1653. The text addresses Jesus as joy and support, versus enemies and the vanity of existence. The poetry is bar form, with irregular lines from 5 to 8 syllables. The melody repeats the first line in the last, framing each of the six stanzas.
The six Cello Suites, BWV 1007-1012, are suites for unaccompanied cello by Johann Sebastian Bach. They are some of the most frequently performed and recognizable solo compositions ever written for cello. Bach most likely composed them during the period 1717–23, when he served as Kapellmeister in Köthen. The title given on the cover of the Anna Magdalena Bach manuscript was Suites à Violoncello Solo senza Basso.
The sonatas and partitas for solo violin are a set of six works composed by Johann Sebastian Bach. They are sometimes referred to in English as the sonatas and partias for solo violin in accordance with Bach's headings in the autograph manuscript: "Partia" was commonly used in German-speaking regions during Bach's time, whereas the Italian "partita" was introduced to this set in the 1879 Bach Gesellschaft edition, having become standard by that time. The set consists of three sonatas da chiesa in four movements and three partitas in dance-form movements.
The Partitas, BWV 825–830, are a set of six harpsichord suites written by Johann Sebastian Bach, published from 1726 to 1730 as Clavier-Übung I, and the first of his works to be published under his direction. They were, however, among the last of his keyboard suites to be composed, the others being the six English Suites, BWV 806-811 and the six French Suites, BWV 812-817, as well as the Overture in the French style, BWV 831.
The French Suites, BWV 812–817, are six suites which Johann Sebastian Bach wrote for the clavier between the years of 1722 and 1725. Although Suites 1 to 4 are typically dated to 1722, it is possible that the first was written somewhat earlier.
Klavierbüchlein für Wilhelm Friedemann Bach is a collection of keyboard music compiled by the German Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach for his eldest son Wilhelm Friedemann. It is frequently referred to simply as Klavierbüchlein.
Robert de Visée was a lutenist, guitarist, theorbist and viol player at the court of the French kings Louis XIV and Louis XV, as well as a singer and composer for lute, theorbo and guitar.
The four orchestral suites, BWV 1066–1069 are four suites by Johann Sebastian Bach. The name ouverture refers only in part to the opening movement in the style of the French overture, in which a majestic opening section in relatively slow dotted-note rhythm in duple meter is followed by a fast fugal section, then rounded off with a short recapitulation of the opening music. More broadly, the term was used in Baroque Germany for a suite of dance-pieces in French Baroque style preceded by such an ouverture. This genre was extremely popular in Germany during Bach's day, and he showed far less interest in it than was usual: Robin Stowell writes that "Telemann's 135 surviving examples [represent] only a fraction of those he is known to have written"; Christoph Graupner left 85; and Johann Friedrich Fasch left almost 100. Bach did write several other ouverture (suites) for solo instruments, notably the Cello Suite no. 5, BWV 1011, which also exists in the autograph Lute Suite in G minor, BWV 995, the Keyboard Partita no. 4 in D, BWV 828, and the Overture in the French style, BWV 831 for keyboard. The two keyboard works are among the few Bach published, and he prepared the lute suite for a "Monsieur Schouster," presumably for a fee, so all three may attest to the form's popularity.
Bach: Unaccompanied Cello Suites Performed on Double Bass is an album released by the double bass virtuoso Edgar Meyer. Meyer plays three of JS Bach's Cello Suites BWV 1007-1012. Performing cello suites on a double bass offers intriguing challenges. Meyer recorded Suites I, II and V. There also are recordings of all six Suites by Richard Hartshorne, Gerd Reinke and François_Rabbath. Gary Karr recorded Suites IV, V and VI.
The Overture in the French style, BWV 831, original title Ouvertüre nach Französischer Art, also known as the French Overture and published as the second half of Clavier-Übung II in 1735, is a suite in B minor for two-manual harpsichord written by Johann Sebastian Bach. An earlier version of this work exists, in the key of C minor ; the work was transposed into B minor to complete the cycle of tonalities in Parts One and Two of the Clavier-Übung. The keys of the six Partitas form a sequence of intervals going up and then down by increasing amounts: a second up, a third down, a fourth up, a fifth down, and finally a sixth up. The key sequence continues into Clavier-Übung II (1735) with two larger works: the Italian Concerto, a seventh down, and the French Overture, an augmented fourth up. Thus this sequence of customary tonalities for 18th-century keyboard compositions is complete, extending from the first letter of his name to the last letter of his name.
The Partita No. 3 in E major BWV 1006 by Johann Sebastian Bach for solo violin is the last work in the set of Six Sonatas and Partitas. It consists of the following movements:
Musicalische Ergötzung is a collection of chamber music by Johann Pachelbel. Published during his lifetime, it contains six suites for two violins and basso continuo.
The Suite in G Minor, BWV 995, was transcribed by composer Johann Sebastian Bach between the spring of 1727 and the winter of 1731 from his own Cello Suite No. 5, BWV 1011. It is in six movements:
Suite in E minor, BWV 996, is a musical composition written by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) between 1708 and 1717. It is probable that this suite was intended for lute-harpsichord. Because that is an uncommon instrument, it is in modern times often performed on the guitar.
Jazz Sebastian Bach is a compilation album / re-issue of music by the Paris-based Swingle Singers. It combines the tracks from two previous releases, 1963's Bach's Greatest Hits a.k.a. Jazz Sébastien Bach with 1968's Back to Bach a.k.a. Jazz Sébastien Bach Vol. 2.
The Partita No. 1 in B minor BWV 1002 by Johann Sebastian Bach, is a piece for solo violin composed by 1720. This partita is formed in the traditional way that consists of an allemande, a courante, sarabande and gigue in the baroque style, except that this work substitutes a bourrée for the more typical gigue. Also, each movement is followed by a variation called double in French, which elaborates on the chords of the prior movement. The movements in order are:
Partita for keyboard No. 4 in D Major, BWV 828, Op. 1 No. 4 is a keyboard suite by Johann Sebastian Bach composed between 1726–1729. It is the fourth suite in his Clavier-Übung I, Op. 1.
The Partita for keyboard No. 6 in E minor, BWV 830, is a suite of seven movements written for the harpsichord by Johann Sebastian Bach. It was published in 1731 both as a separate work and as part of Bach's Clavier-Übung I.