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Tag: gavottes

English Suite No 3 in G Minor – Bach

suite-fibonacci-2003.jpg

   “Suite Fibonacci (2003) 

           Charles Bezie

               ________

 
before I say much more about his Cello
Suites, let me point out that Bach has
some French Suites, some English 
Suites, on top of similarly structured 
Partitas and Toccatas, the French have 
their tout de suites, and hotels have, 
nowadays, their so named luxury 
apartments 

musical suites are sets of dance pieces, 
by the early 18th Century much stylized, 
with an introductory prélude, an allemande, 
followed by a courante, which is to say, folk 
dances, the first German, the next French, 
then a sarabande, Spanish, followed by a 
couple of galanteries, court dances, 
minuets, gavottes, bourrées, then a final 
English gigue

all of the markings are in French, which
leads me to believe that all of these 
dances must’ve originated at the court 
of Louis XlVth, the Sun King, 1638 to 
1715

but the suggestion is that Europe was 
becoming an integrated community
all of these dances were eclipsed by
the Classical Period, of Haydn and 
Mozart, apart from the minuet, which 
more or less defined, nevertheless, 
that new era

the minuet will die out by the time of
Beethoven, you’ll note, to be replaced
by the waltz, which had been 
considered much too racy until 
transformed by Chopin into a work 
of ethereal art

the Strausses, father and son, gave it,
only a little later, celebratory potency,
but that’s another story


here’s Bach’s English Suite, the 3rd
for context, the French ones are a 
little too salty, as it were, they do not 
quite conform to prescribed suite 
notionshowever might their 
propositions have been, ahem, 
sweet 

meanwhile, enjoy this one


R ! chard

Johann Sebastian Bach‏ – the Cello Suites

if the Well-Tempered Clavier is the alphabet of
even today our music, the six Cello Suites of Bach
are its apotheosis
 
again, suites are a series of dance forms, menuets,
sarabandes“, entirely stylized at this point in
history, nobody danced to them, they were enjoyed
intellectually as idealized memories of earlier, more
spontaneous, comparatively less fully civilized, times,
it would’ve been thought, a conceit of every epoch 
 
what is mighty to my mind is that this sublime
musical mission was devoted to the cello, even then
a secondary instrument, a mere accompaniment,
which grounded however with its stolid, even
lumbering, authority, like an overlooked patriarch
among the more effervescently expressive brood of
forthright and more limber maybe upstarts, who 
clamored for position like youngsters defining
their pretensions, not least of which the recently
incarnated harpsichord, or clavier, that
multifaceted, and iconic, wonder 
 
 
the cello can play one note only at a time,
something the harpsichord was now overcoming,
singly, because no other instrument could then,
nor still cannot, accomplish
 
which will explain the primacy historically of the
piano, which of course can play up to ten notes
at a time, theoretically, if you don’t take into
account large thumbs, fingers, their spans,
which could extend that number to x potentially
 
 
a cello must accompany itself, or rely on the
inspiration of its own simple, necessarily
unsupported, melody 
 
the Cello Suites of Bach have performed this
feat unimpeachably, even miraculously, for the
past nearly three hundred years, one note at a
time, describing intimately and profoundly a
certain unvarnished representation of the 
awesome structure of the very universe   
 
wow, man, extraordinary 
  
 
Richard
 
 
 
 

The French Suites – Johann Sebastian

though we listen to Bach today with the utmost
admiration – even reverence in my case, I would
in fact choose Bach over any other composer to
be with were I to be sequestered somewhere
for any extended length of time, the proverbial, 
for instance, desert island – he is nevertheless
not of our era, our epoch, he is of the earlier
Baroque Period, and you can hear it in the music, 
it’s quirky, intricate, and moment by moment
interesting, though never insistent, intemperate,
subversive, nor ever fragile, overtly emotional 
   
it’s great sponsor, and therefore influence, had
been the Church, but that was changing 
 
also the piano hadn’t been invented yet
 
 
the piano allowed for resonance in a note by way
of the sustain pedal, which allowed one to actually
raise a finger from the key and it would continue to
register, sustain a harmony even were other notes
presented 
 
the soft pedal controlled volume 
the harpsichord with no sustain pedal lost its
reverberation as soon as the key was released,
therefore only other notes could replace the
otherwise silence, which meant you didn’t waste
time before the next syllable in your statement 
 
with no soft pedal there was no variation in volume,
something I especially enjoy of a quiet ruminative
evening  
 
 
Andras Schiff delivers an enchanted evening of all
the French Suites, six of them with all their several
movements
 
a suite is a set of dances, menuets, gigues, gavottes,
courantes, and my favourite, sarabandes, don’t ask,
these are all of another order where they’d never
heard of a waltz yet, and you’ll prefer that I not
go there but glancingly  
 
Glenn Gould delivers the quintessential French
Suites, I think, though in two separate instalments,
volume 1, volume 2, with only for visuals a static,
though striking, picture of him 
 
you’ll note that he uses the sustain pedal sparingly,
suggesting faithfulness to the original harpsichord,
this also sheds light on the bare bones of the
composition, illustrating starkly Bach’s technical
wizardry, the mind behind the man, he makes
clear, is nothing short of magic 
 
and that goes for all of us
 
 
Richard