The harmony throughout the Suite in E minor is intense and sensuous, in marked contrast to the simplicity of the dance structures into which this molten passion is poured. The tension thus created can be electrifying. The structure of these movements is essentially repetitious and is notated in shorthand repeat signs. There is never any suggestion that these are at all optional, and we have observed them all, preferring to include fewer movements complete than more curtailed. This music embodies the values of the society which produced it, where time spent cultivating le bon goût in all forms of culture was not regarded as time wasted. On the contrary, in stark contrast to our own age (where to be busy is to be important, to be wanted), to have time to contemplate and cultivate the beautiful was the goal.
from notes by Richard Boothby © 1989