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Igor Kipnis plays Bach's Partitas -
reviewed by DAVID PONSFORD

'... sheer variety of registration colours ...'

J S Bach: Solo Partitas Nos 3, 5 & 6 (c) 2000 Angel Records

 

After publishing each of his six Partitas separately during the late 1720s, Bach made a collected edition in 1731, publishing them as his Opus 1 (despite the cantatas, Brandenburg Concertos and all the organ works composed by then) and calling the collection 'Clavierübung' or Keyboard practice. This does not imply keyboard exercises such as scales and arpeggios, but the idea of putting theory into practice, leaving pedagogy behind.

The 1720s had been a period of evident expansion in keyboard technique, for example Handel's set of eight Suites (1720) and Rameau's two books (1724, c1728), but an aspect that was new in Bach's Partitas was the conscious idea of a compendium of all possible types of keyboard dances contained in one set, marking the Partitas as quite new in concept when compared with his previous 'French' and 'English' suites. Thus, the opening movements of each suite are in six different forms: Praeludium, Sinfonia, Fantasia, Ouverture, Praeambulum, Toccata. Continuing this idea, for each of the five Gigues that close the suites, Bach manages to write them with different time signatures, creating a real problem for modern interpreters in the sixth Partita. Similarly, we can discover all different kinds of allemandes, courantes, sarabandes and 'Galanterien', although our knowledge of the subtleties of Bach's local subgenres of dances is still very limited.

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Copyright © 16 September 2001 David Ponsford, Gloucestershire, UK

 

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CD INFORMATION - EMI CLASSICS (USA) 5 73700 2

PURCHASE TOCCATAS 1,2&4 FROM AMAZON

CD INFORMATION - ANGEL RECORDS 5 74007 2

PURCHASE TOCCATAS 3,5&6 FROM AMAZON

 

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