French suites by Johann Sebastian Bach

According to the New York Times, Johann Sebastian Bachtook first place in the list of the most influential composers of the world. His music inspired Beethoven and Mozart to create the greatest works. The legacy of Bach himself is more than a thousand works covering all musical genres, except opera. He is called an unrivaled master of polyphony.

bahs French suites

Bach's Genres of Music

Johann Sebastian began his career writingchurch music in traditional religious genres, but soon moved on to a more secular one. In secular music, Bach found for himself that freedom of expression, which he lacked in the church.

First Bach imitated the works of otherscomposers, then began to combine different genres in one work. Fugue allowed Bach to show his genius of polyphony, while the suites revealed emotional depth, and only one instrument was needed.

Bach wrote music for a variety of differenttools, despite the fact that during his lifetime was famous for his virtuosic play on the organ. A lot of works the composer wrote for flute, violin, harpsichord and clavier.

 Bach French Allemand Suites

Suites for Clavier

His works brought secular music to thea completely new level, especially clearly seen in the collections of suites for the clavier. A total of three were published: "French suites", "English suites" and "Partitas for the clavier".

Throughout his career Bachimproved the structure and content of the suite, adding new parts, changing instruments and deepening the sound. In these collections collections are collected, over which the composer worked from 1718 to 1730. They differ in form, composition and content.

In each collection there are 6 suites with the sameconstruction - they consist of four main parts. In each of the cycles, the composer adds additional parts, such as foreplay. French suites of Bach are characterized by simplicity of composition and ease of execution.

French suites

What is a suite?

From French, the suite is translated as"sequence". Historically, the suite consisted of several musical parts, strongly contrasting with each other. This construction stretched from the tradition of combining dances - slow and solemn immediately after the living and light.

Then the suite became less contrast. The standard composition of chamber suites developed in the seventeenth century in Germany, in part it was strengthened by Bach himself. Today the composition consists of four parts:

  • allemande;
  • the chime;
  • saraband;
  • The liquid.

Each of these parts is an ancient dance.

Elements of the suite

Allemande - the name of the dance, especially popularat the time of the Baroque. It came from the French word allemande, translated "German". The roots of this progenitor waltz come from Germany in the 16th century. The French suites of Bach are distinguished by the fact that the composer experimented a lot with the allemande, sometimes making it sound like a prelude.

Courant - French dance, popular in the XVIcentury, characterized by a rapid pace. In the time of Johann Sebastian Bach, the chime lost its popularity, but remained an element of the suite, in which the composer concentrated the emotional load of the work.

French Suite in C Minor

Sarabande - Spanish folk dance. Its original form was too frivolous and frank, and the church, unable to ban, decided to refine it, turning it into a funeral melody with a reduced tempo. In the time of Bach, the saraband became again popular, but already in a much "cultivated" form.

Zhiga - another dance of the Baroque period, rootswhich come from England. This is the only element of the suite that has never been a dance of high society. The first French suite in C minor stands out because Bach has completely changed the pace of the live.

In addition to these four required parts, the suite may have a prelude and an additional part, usually played between the last two.

French suites by Bach

French Suite in B Minor

The composer himself did not give names to his suites,"The French" named them the first biographer of Bach Johann Forkel. He mentioned that these six pieces of music were written in the French style of harpsichord music.

Of all the suites written by the composer,French - the most simple in content and execution. However, they are not so simple in composition as the English ones, and not as complex as the partitas Bach composed. French suites, whose allemand is sometimes similar to the prelude, except deviations in the usual rhythm, contain a few more optional parts between the saraband and the vita. Although the composer has always remained true to the standard scheme: first an allemande, then a chime, followed by a saraband, after which one or more additional elements, and at the end of the suite - a lump.

Contents of the cycle of French suites

Bach French Allemand Suites

The cycle of French suites consists of six works, differing by numbers or names of keys:

  • The first is a suite in D minor. It consists of an allemande, chimes, sarabandas, minuets, and fires. And the latter differs by a completely different rate - 2/2.
  • The second is a suite in C minor. There are three optional parts between the saraband and the zhigaya - one aria and two minuets.
  • The third is the French Suite in B minor. A remarkable suite with three additional pieces, a gavotte, a minuet and a trio.
  • The fourth is a suite in E-flat major. In addition to the main parts, it also contains gavot, aria and minuet.
  • The fifth is a suite in G major. In it, between the last two mandatory elements are Gavotte, Laura and Burr.
  • The sixth is a suite in E major with additional gavot, polonaise, burr and minuet.

Despite the fact that Bach did not shy away from the usualcompositions, his suites are full of novelties and influences typical for the composer from outside. They are full of new rhythms, melodies and even polyphony. Between the saraband and the live one can hear the gavot, the polonaise or the minuet, and the saraband itself in all six suites is extremely melodic and emotional.

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