Hyperion Records

English Suite No 1 in A major, BWV806
composer

Recordings
'Bach: Angela Hewitt plays Bach' (CDS44421/35)
Bach: Angela Hewitt plays Bach
Buy by post £50.00 CDS44421/35  15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
'Bach: The English Suites' (CDA67451/2)
Bach: The English Suites
Buy by post £20.00 CDA67451/2  2CDs  
'Bach: The English Suites' (SACDA67451/2)
Bach: The English Suites
SACDA67451/2  2CDs Super-Audio CD — Deleted  
Details
Movement 1: Prelude
Track 1 on CDA67451/2 CD1 [2'08] 2CDs
Track 1 on CDS44421/35 CD2 [2'08] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 1 on SACDA67451/2 CD1 [2'08] 2CDs Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 2: Allemande
Track 2 on CDA67451/2 CD1 [4'31] 2CDs
Track 2 on CDS44421/35 CD2 [4'31] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 2 on SACDA67451/2 CD1 [4'31] 2CDs Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 3: Courante I
Track 3 on CDA67451/2 CD1 [1'58] 2CDs
Track 3 on CDS44421/35 CD2 [1'58] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 3 on SACDA67451/2 CD1 [1'58] 2CDs Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 4: Courante II
Track 4 on CDA67451/2 CD1 [7'14] 2CDs
Track 4 on CDS44421/35 CD2 [7'14] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 4 on SACDA67451/2 CD1 [7'14] 2CDs Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 5: Sarabande
Track 5 on CDA67451/2 CD1 [5'14] 2CDs
Track 5 on CDS44421/35 CD2 [5'14] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 5 on SACDA67451/2 CD1 [5'14] 2CDs Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 6: Bourrée I and II
Track 6 on CDA67451/2 CD1 [4'00] 2CDs
Track 6 on CDS44421/35 CD2 [4'00] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 6 on SACDA67451/2 CD1 [4'00] 2CDs Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 7: Gigue
Track 7 on CDA67451/2 CD1 [2'52] 2CDs
Track 7 on CDS44421/35 CD2 [2'52] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 7 on SACDA67451/2 CD1 [2'52] 2CDs Super-Audio CD — Deleted

English Suite No 1 in A major, BWV806
EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The English Suite No 1 in A major, BWV806 is the odd one out in the set, and totally unlike the other five. Perhaps the least played nowadays, it is very French in style and seems close to Couperin (whose Premier Livre de Pièces de Clavecin was published in 1713). It exists in an earlier version (BWV806a) with a shorter prelude, only one variant of the second Courante, and without the second Bourrée. The first eleven bars of the Prelude are taken from the first harpsichord suite by Charles Dieupart (1667?–c1740), a French composer who lived in London from the early 1700s. Bach had copied out all six of Dieupart’s suites, no doubt then being inspired to write his own. After the opening flourish, we settle into a pastorale in 12/8 (in Dieupart’s piece it was the concluding Gigue) that is very reminiscent of the A major Prelude of Book II of the Well-Tempered Clavier. Nothing disturbs us unduly. The Allemande which follows is also gentle and calm, using arpeggiated figures and pedal points rather than the standard imitative entries. The texture is dense, but the key of A major demands a certain radiance.

Then comes a rather big dose of Courantes—two, in fact, and the second with two variations or doubles. Couperin often wrote series of Courantes in the same key, but it is unusual in Bach. It is not an easy dance to get a hold of, either as a player or as a listener—nor for a dancer, I imagine, as its rhythmic subtleties can be quite complicated. All of the courantes in Bach’s English Suites are of the French variety (the Italian corrente being another kettle of fish, and a much livelier dance), and this is often ignored by pianists who seem to find in them a bit of a romp. Nothing could be further from the true character of the dance. The four we have here are a lesson in ornamentation, especially the second Courante with its Italian-style flourishes in the first double, and the walking bass in the second.

The Sarabande of the A major suite provides the great moment of the entire work. Seventeen of the thirty-two bars contain the swirling motive of the first bar which then soars upwards, resting on the second beat (a rhythmic characteristic of the dance). The melody is more Italian than French with its long phrases and curves. Unlike the other sarabandes of the English Suites, this one is already highly embellished to start with, leaving little room for ‘improvement’ on the repeats.

To conclude we have two high-spirited Bourrées (the first in the major key making a feature of two-note slurs; the second in the minor which stays in the lower half of the keyboard—another thing which Couperin often did), and a Gigue which will be remembered by all those who have played it for the annoying trills in both hands. The piano marking at the end of each section is Bach’s own, showing that he preferred to end this piece with charm rather than bravura.

from notes by Angela Hewitt © 2003

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDS44421/35 disc 2 track 5
Movement 5: Sarabande
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-03-45105
Duration
5'14
Recording date
7 August 2002
Recording venue
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Ludger Böckenhoff
Recording engineer
Ludger Böckenhoff
Hyperion usage
  1. Bach: The English Suites (CDA67451/2)
    Disc 1 Track 5
    Release date: September 2003
    2CDs
  2. Bach: Angela Hewitt plays Bach (CDS44421/35)
    Disc 2 Track 5
    Release date: September 2010
    15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
  3. Bach: The English Suites (SACDA67451/2)
    Disc 1 Track 5
    Release date: September 2003
    Deletion date: January 2009
    2CDs Super-Audio CD — Deleted
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