David Ezra Okonsar | J.S. Bach: The French Suites, Vol. 2 (No. 4-5-6) BWV 815-817

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J.S. Bach: The French Suites, Vol. 2 (No. 4-5-6) BWV 815-817

by David Ezra Okonsar

J.S. Bach The French Suites N.4-5-6 BWV 815-817 by David Ezra Okonsar
Genre: Classical: Bach
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  Song Share Time Download
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1. French Suite No. 4 in E-Flat Major, BWV 815: I. Allemande
2:45 $1.99
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2. French Suite No. 4 in E-Flat Major, BWV 815: II. Courante
2:21 $1.99
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3. French Suite No. 4 in E-Flat Major, BWV 815: III. Sarabande
3:37 $1.99
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4. French Suite No. 4 in E-Flat Major, BWV 815: IV. Gavotte
1:29 $1.99
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5. French Suite No. 4 in E-Flat Major, BWV 815: V. Air
1:50 $1.99
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6. French Suite No. 4 in E-Flat Major, BWV 815: VI. Menuet
0:53 $1.99
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7. French Suite No. 4 in E-Flat Major, BWV 815: VII. Gigue
2:33 $1.99
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8. French Suite No. 5 in G Major, BWV 816: I. Allemande
3:43 $1.99
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9. French Suite No. 5 in G Major, BWV 816: II. Courante
1:49 $1.99
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10. French Suite No. 5 in G Major, BWV 816: III. Sarabande
5:10 $1.99
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11. French Suite No. 5 in G Major, BWV 816: IV. Gavotte
1:23 $1.99
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12. French Suite No. 5 in G Major, BWV 816: V. Bourree
2:04 $1.99
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13. French Suite No. 5 in G Major, BWV 816: VI. Loure
2:01 $1.99
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14. French Suite No. 5 in G Major, BWV 816: VII. Gigue
3:32 $1.99
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15. French Suite No. 6 in E Major, BWV 817: I. Allemande
3:23 $1.99
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16. French Suite No. 6 in E Major, BWV 817: II. Courante
2:05 $1.99
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17. French Suite No. 6 in E Major, BWV 817: III. Sarabande
3:26 $1.99
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18. French Suite No. 6 in E Major, BWV 817: IV. Gavotte
1:03 $1.99
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19. French Suite No. 6 in E Major, BWV 817: V. Polonaise
1:27 $1.99
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20. French Suite No. 6 in E Major, BWV 817: VI. Menuet
1:06 $1.99
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21. French Suite No. 6 in E Major, BWV 817: VII. Bourree
1:41 $1.99
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22. French Suite No. 6 in E Major, BWV 817: VIII. Gigue
2:22 $1.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
The French Suites were probably composed at the end of the composer's stay in Cöthen, 1717 - 1723. The first five were cloned in the Clavierbüchlein composed for Anna Magdalena in 1722.

In Cöthen, Bach mainly composed mom-religious works and he was at the apex of his instrumental style.

Different views exist on why these Suites are called "French".

Most probably, it is due to the insertion of highly popular French dances in Versailles as: Menuets, Gavottes, Bourrées and Lourées between the usual line of dances: Allemande - Courante - Sarabande - Gigue.

Also, we know how great was the impact of the French composers Bach studied the works when he was at Lünebourg and Celle. He has been certainly greatly influenced by the French harpsichord players he openly admired.

French Suites have between six and eight movements. They all have repeats in each section and the first three ones, in minor keys, are in a grave mood while the latter three, in major modes, are "lighter".

The Allemande of this fourth Suite, in E-flat Major BWV 815, is a real Overture or Prelude with three voices. It features an incredibly rich contrapuntal elaboration. This "Prelude/Allemande" beautifully introduces the succession of dance-form pieces to follow.

The second piece is as usual a brisk Courante in the Italian manner with two main voices. It displays the typical dotted rhythm value to be interpreted as triplets.

A tender and lyrical Sarabande follows, which may be cut into three parts of eight bars each. Each section is based on a short motivic idea which appears alternatively at the top and in the bass voices.

Next, the Gavotte which is an old French dance very popular at the court of Versailles. It always starts whit a double upbeat.

Again a brilliant, virtuoso piece: "Air", which sometimes appears after the Menuet in some editions.

Only 16 bars long, the charming Menuet function as an intermezzo between the Air and the Gigue.

The final Gigue displays a fugal writing, including the inversion of the theme at the second section, combined with a virtuoso and brilliant ecriture.

Probably the most lyrical Allemande ever composed by Bach is in the French Suite N.5 in G Major BWV 816 . The lyricism here takes over the dance idiom. The left hand, starting as an accompaniment includes extremely subtle contrapuntal elements in a delicate imitative structure.

This is, as usual, followed by a Courante which may be called "Air" because of its instrumental and virtuoso texture.

Then comes one very elaborate and lengthy Sarabande in the French manner. The left hand features an extremely elaborated ecriture.

Again, a Gavotte, a popular piece, typical with its double upbeat.

The next Bourrée is an old French dance, actually quite fast, but more fluid and serpentine, less "square" as compared to the Gavotte.

This mini "French suite inside the Suite" section, made of typical French dances, Gavotte - Bourrée, ends with the Louré.

The Louré is a moderately slow French dance with short and almost jerky moves which are presented with sudden rhythmic changes.

Towards the final cadence, an interesting and somewhat shocking harmonic progression dares to present one almost "cluster-chord" (F-sharp - G - A and B - A - C - D) followed by a seventh chord.

The finale is one more a fast and volubile Gigue in fugato form, very close to the most brilliant fugues of the Well-Tempered series. It ends brilliantly the Suite. Again, in the second part, the theme inverted.

This most popular Suite, N.6 in E Major BWV 817, of the series starts with an Allemande in the style of the moderately animated Preludes from the Well-Tempered keyboard series.

The second piece is an Italian style Courante which literally runs from one hand to the other, made out of gracious scales and arpeggios.

The effect of some Sarabandes from the first book of the "Pieces de Clavecin" by Francois Couperin is noticeable in this superb one, in the French style again.

A joyful and gracious Gavotte with a delicate and airy left hand texture follows the fabulous Sarabande.

A Polonaise appears here. A court dance from the (French-governed) Polish court. Light and gracious close to a Menuet in its metrical structures but more lyrical.

The next Menuet appears in some editions between the following Bourée and the last Gigue and functions as a moderate movement between two fast ones. However, here too it brings a calm between the Polonaise and the Bourée. I present it here following the Urtext editions.

The next Bourrée, again, reflects the subtle style of the French court dance. In two times just as the Gavotte but rounded and softened in moves and the music.

The Suite ends with a brilliant Gigue, which displays less a fugal appearance than the previous ones, no imitative successive entrances of the theme. It looks more like a duet or as an "extended "Air".

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