The Partita in E major (BWV1006) is, perhaps the most readily accessible of the six works for unaccompanied violin. It begins with a dashing, bravura Preludio whose almost unbroken pattern of semiquavers, together with passages of ‘bariolage’ and its bright key of E major, imbue the piece with radiance and anticipatory excitement. Bach himself must have thought especially well of this movement since, nine years later, in 1729, he transcribed the violin part for organ, adding parts for strings, oboes and basso continuo to create a sinfonia for a wedding cantata (BWV120a). Two years later, he turned to the piece again, further expanding the orchestration to include trumpets and drums, this time to provide an introduction to a cantata (BWV29) for the installation of the Leipzig city council in 1731. In the remaining movements Bach resisted the conventional sequence of dances belonging to the classical suite, confining himself to ‘galanteries’. After a Loure, a movement of gigue-like character but with a more intricate rhythm, follows a catchy Gavotte en rondeau. The first of two Menuets yields an air of courtly refinement while the second, with its tied ‘drone’ minims is of a more pastoral character. The syncopated Bourrée derives engaging effects from Bach’s carefully marked dynamic contrasts, while an airy, sprightly Gigue brings the Partita to a warmly expressive and convivial conclusion.
from notes by Nicholas Anderson © 2009