Suite No 6
in F sharp minor takes us into a key problematical in Baroque tuning. As the dominant of tragic and suffering B minor, F sharp minor became for Bach a key appropriate to states of ecstasy or pain, while for Couperin it tended to imply sensuous exploration or mystical aspiration. Characteristically, Handel is more down-to-earth, though this suite is among the grandest in the cycle, with a prelude in French dotted rhythm, in four real parts, followed by a massive largo, also in double-dotted rhythm and thick in harmonic texture. The third movement is a spacious fugue making poignant use of suspensions and of sustained cadential pedal notes, while the final gigue, though conventionally frisky in a cross between Italian and French style, preserves a certain grittiness.
from notes by Wilfrid Mellers © 1995