Hyperion Records

English Suite No 3 in G minor, BWV808
composer

Recordings
'A Matthay Miscellany: Rare and unissued recordings' (APR6014)
A Matthay Miscellany: Rare and unissued recordings
APR6014  2CDs for the price of 1 June 2014 Release  
'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 14 on CDA67451/2 CD1 [3'14] 2CDs
Track 14 on CDS44421/35 CD2 [3'14] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 14 on SACDA67451/2 CD1 [3'14] 2CDs Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 2: Allemande
Track 15 on CDA67451/2 CD1 [4'12] 2CDs
Track 15 on CDS44421/35 CD2 [4'12] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 15 on SACDA67451/2 CD1 [4'12] 2CDs Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 3: Courante
Track 16 on CDA67451/2 CD1 [2'53] 2CDs
Track 16 on CDS44421/35 CD2 [2'53] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 16 on SACDA67451/2 CD1 [2'53] 2CDs Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 4: Sarabande et les agréments de la même Sarabande
Track 17 on CDA67451/2 CD1 [5'39] 2CDs
Track 17 on CDS44421/35 CD2 [5'39] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 17 on SACDA67451/2 CD1 [5'39] 2CDs Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 5: Gavotte I and II
Track 18 on CDA67451/2 CD1 [3'31] 2CDs
Track 18 on CDS44421/35 CD2 [3'31] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 18 on SACDA67451/2 CD1 [3'31] 2CDs Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 6: Gigue
Track 11 on APR6014 CD2 [1'17] 2CDs for the price of 1 June 2014 Release
Track 19 on CDA67451/2 CD1 [2'47] 2CDs
Track 19 on CDS44421/35 CD2 [2'47] 15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 19 on SACDA67451/2 CD1 [2'47] 2CDs Super-Audio CD — Deleted

English Suite No 3 in G minor, BWV808
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The Prelude of the English Suite No 3 in G minor, BWV808 is a perfect example of how Bach could construct a solo keyboard piece using a Vivaldi concerto grosso as a model. Ritornello passages imitating the full orchestra alternate with solo episodes that are lighter and more transparent. The first and third of these use similar material giving the movement a symmetrical construction. The crescendo of the first six bars is a built-in one with Bach piling up the parts (this becomes even more effective on the piano). The return to the repeat of the opening section is ingenious. There is no pause or clear re-commencement, but rather a bridge passage where the opening three notes begin to appear low down, moving upwards until they finally come to the right spot and we find ourselves in familiar territory. The swinging rhythm of the movement should be brought out, especially since in one of the earliest copies it was written in double measures (that is, with the stress only on every second bar, as though it were in 6/8 rather than 3/8).

The theme of the Allemande appears for the first time, rather unusually, in the bass. Taken up by the right hand, it is then swapped back and forth between the hands. After the double bar it is inverted, but then returns to its original form before the end. Bach flaunted his disregard for the rules and wrote a pair of consecutive octaves going into bar 11 that must have shocked his students! The Courante is rhythmically complex, with one passage in the first section sounding as though we are suddenly in 4/4 time rather than 3/2. The Sarabande is truly magical and must be one of his most inspired examples of this dance. The pedal point at the beginning lasts a full seven bars, and requires some repetition of the low G if it is to continue sounding. There are swift changes of key, and enharmonic progressions over a second pedal point that add to its beauty. As in the second suite, Bach gives us fully written-out ‘agréments’ which this time I like to play after a full, repeated version of the original dance. That way it somehow seems like a distant ‘echo’ of what has come before, yet even more wondrous and expressive.

The two Gavottes are well known—probably the best known movements in all the English suites. The first makes you think of Rameau’s famous Tambourin with the insistent, drum-like repeated Gs in the bass. The second is a musette in the major key which has a tender, almost lullaby-ish character. It is always preferable, I think, to play the pair of galanteries at the same speed, so this second gavotte prevents you from taking the first one too fast. The Gigue is in fact a three-part fugue of great difficulty which needs clarity, precision, and a sense of line to be effective. This is definitely one movement in which the constant ‘hammering and rattling’ that Forkel talks about can be most distressing!

from notes by Angela Hewitt © 2003

Track-specific metadata
Click track numbers opposite to select

Details for CDA67451/2 disc 1 track 16
Courante
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-03-45116
Duration
2'53
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 16
    Release date: September 2003
    2CDs
  2. Bach: Angela Hewitt plays Bach (CDS44421/35)
    Disc 2 Track 16
    Release date: September 2010
    15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
  3. Bach: The English Suites (SACDA67451/2)
    Disc 1 Track 16
    Release date: September 2003
    Deletion date: January 2009
    2CDs Super-Audio CD — Deleted
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