The E major Passacaille
, as Op 130 a comparatively late work, makes an interesting comparison with the very early Chaconne
. In fact even less than that piece is this a strict study in ground-bass variations, as its title might imply – though the presence of a ground is occasionally hinted at. Instead it is a sophisticated exercise in neo-Baroque evocation, recalling the virtuosity of the great clavecinistes of the age of Rameau and Couperin, and going back to the origins of the passacaille, which was a vigorous triple-time dance before it ever became a showcase for contrapuntal learning.
from notes by Calum MacDonald © 1994