JS Bach - The Partitas, BWV825-830 | Harmonia Mundi HMM90759394

JS Bach - The Partitas, BWV825-830


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Label: Harmonia Mundi

Cat No: HMM90759394

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 2

Genre: Instrumental

Release Date: 24th February 2017



Richard Egarr (harpsichord)


Bach, Johann Sebastian

Partitas nos.1-6, BWV825-830 (complete)


Richard Egarr (harpsichord)


Any composer’s Op.1 is a big deal. Bach modelled his own after Kuhnau’s Neue Clavier Übung, books 1 and 2 of which were published in 1689 and 1692. Bach’s ability to ‘see’ and create a long-term ‘project’ has its spooky beginnings here. Although the music that inhabits the six Partitas was ready and waiting, rather than publish them together, Bach staggered their delivery. Partita 1 came in 1726, with the other five appearing gradually over the next four years, until finally in 1731 the entire six Partitas were presented as his ‘Clavir [sic] Ubung ... Opus 1 ... 1731’.

Bach infuses this seemingly effortless music with godly patterns and personal algorithms of stunning brilliance. Many pages have been spent in the pursuit of secret codes in Bach’s music: for many, a contentious subject. Bach began by publishing Partita 1 in 1726 – when he was 41 years old. Needless to say the final movement of the set (the 41st movement), has as its theme a subject containing 14 notes. The family name not only gave rise to a direct musical melody [BACH = B flat/A/C/B natural], but for Johann Sebastian a pair of deliciously mirrored numbers with which he was wont to sign his name at beginnings and endings in particular. If A=1, B=2 etc. (I and J are counted as the same letter), then:
BACH = [2+1+3+8] 14
JSBACH = [9+18+14] 41

The above is wilfully paraphrased from Richard Egarr’s own superb notes from this new recording of the Partitas; crowning his already extensive series of Bach’s harpsichord works, and illuminating every one of their multiple facets.

Harpsichord by Joel Katzman, Amsterdam, 1991, after Ruckers, Antwerp, 1638
Tuning: A = 399
Temperament: R. Egarr based on 18th-century 6th comma

‘Egarr displays an extraordinary tonal range, from harp-like resonance to transparency. The best harpsichord recital of these Suites on disc.’ - BBC Music Magazine *****

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