Tablet - Portrait

Tablet - Landscape


Johann Sebastian Bach

As always in Bach's French Suites, this work begins with an Allemande, Courante, and Sarabande. The Allemande is warm and flowing, a stream of arpeggios that tend to eddy in the harpsichord's upper reaches, with the harmony often pooling at the lower extreme. The Courante begins with a repeated B flat featured in the Allemande. It's a brief Allegro movement whose dotted rhythms make it seem much more like a Gigue. This lively piece contrasts with the elegant Sarabande, more lithe than was Bach's stately norm for this dance form. The fourth spot is occupied in Bach's last three French Suites by a Gavotte; this one is a lighthearted little canon, the melody sticking on a couple of two-note sighs along the way. The next movement is called Air, but it's far more sprightly than the more famous Air in Bach's third orchestral suite. With a motoric but not excessively fast drive, the music makes its effect with nonstop runs up and down the scale. This is followed by a very brief Minuet at a more measured pace. The last item, as usual, is a Gigue, here a vivacious piece that manages to sound lilting even though its opening figure is taken from the call of a posthorn. Over a joyously skipping rhythm, the melody spins itself into a sequence of almost delirious trills.