Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) – Partita No. 1 in Bb major

Bach Partita No. 1 in Bb major

The Bb partita, as it’s called, begins with an introductory “Praeludium” then follows the suite form standardized by JS Bach himself.  In this case two minuets are included after the generally required Allemande, Corrente, Sarabande and before the ending Gigue.  These dances were common in suites written in the century before Bach.  And Bach wrote many suites including those English suites and French suites.

A corrente is used in this suite.  Suites in the French manner would generally have substituted a courante.  The courante is a slower more elegant dance preferred in the French court.

Note that each movement in this suite is in the key of Bb.  Baroque suites generally held to one key.  Interest between movements arises from the use of different dances with different spirit. These movements have contrast in energy, dynamics, rhythm and other qualities.  You will note the rhythmic energy, drive, forward motion, which abounds in this baroque music.  The tonal harmonic progressions which became firmly entrenched in the baroque period, and which are a paramount feature of this partita, are present in all of the music presented in this recital.