Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Partita No. 1 in B Flat Major BWV825
5. Menuet I
6. Menuet II
Bach's Partitas BWV825-830 make up part of his Clavier-Übung which he wrote specifically for teaching and study purposes. Nothing could be more misleading about the music's qualities than such a pedagogic association. The Partitas contain the inspired beauty and originality that Bach created in whatever form he chose to write and for whatever purpose he was composing. How amazing for the students and teachers of the day to have the opportunity of using music specially composed for them by one of the greatest masters of all art and all time.
A Partita had, in the seventeenth century denoted a set of variations, but by the time Bach was composing the title had come to be associated with a suite - a collection of dances not dissimilar to the kind in the composer's English Suites. Bach's First Partita was issued in 1726, and the Second came the following year. That same year, 1727, a third one was produced, followed by another in 1728 and two more in 1730. The First Partita is in B flat major and is highly contrasted, especially comparing the opening Prelude - intimate, magical and timeless - with the following Allemande - lively, buoyant and dynamic. The final movement of this Partita, a Gigue, is very energetic, highly elaborate and very demanding to play, and most unusually contains no chording - all the harmony is implied in the fast running melodies.
© Jon Tolansky