Suite in G minor

Suite in G minor

BWV 822 performed by Korneel Bernolet
at home in Aalter, Belgium

  • Menu
  • 1. Ouverture
  • 2. Aria
  • 3. Gavotte en Rondeau
  • 4. Bourrée
  • 5. Menuet I, II & III
  • 6. Gigue

Behind the music

Story
Story
Extra videos
Extra videos
Credits
Credits

Finger exercises

In his early suites, Bach learns, tries things out and experiments.

The Wohltemperirte Clavier, the four parts of the Clavier-Übung and the Mass in B minor were all carefully assembled from Bach’s ‘best of the best’. And although the occasional early work does appear in the context of such an illustrious edition or collection, most of the pieces from Bach’s younger years were excluded. Like, for example, this attractive but far from brilliant Suite in G minor, which is known only from a much later source that is full of mistakes. The good news is that Bach was already an excellent master of the basic Baroque composition technique – see Korneel Bernolet’s explanation of partimento! – although he had yet to achieve the great heights of his later suites. Here we see a composer who is still searching for his voice and carefully exploring the boundaries of his musical ambition, undoubtedly inspired by the Italian and French music to which he had been introduced around 1700, both on paper and live (performed by the French court orchestra in Celle).

The first movement of this Suite is an ouverture modelled on those of Lully and D’Anglebert, with a slow, stately introduction followed by a fugue. It all proceeds nicely by the book, until in a few short bars Bach modulates brusquely via a steep harmonic ascent to G-flat minor – dangerously close to the main key of G. The highlight of the suite is the Aria, which is still completely in line with the seventeenth-century German and Italian keyboard traditions. Bernolet’s decision to keep playing the bass first on the lute register of the harpsichord further underlines the beautiful lilting quality of the melody. The Aria is followed by a Gavotte, an untitled Bourrée/Rigaudon, three Menuets (of which the first two are identical, only with the parts inverted) and finally a simple Gigue.

BWV
822
Title
Suite in G minor
Instrument
Harpsichord
Genre
harpsichord works
Year
ca. 1705-1707
Special notes
The first source of this work dates from 1743

Extra videos

Harpsichordist Korneel Bernolet

“Bernolet explains the use of 'partimento' in Bach's Suite in G minor.”

Vocal texs

Original

Translation

Credits

  • Release date
    18 November 2021
  • Recording date
    21 May 2018
  • Location
    Aalter, Belgium
  • Harpsichordist
    Korneel Bernolet
  • Harpsichord
    Alan Gotto, 2012
  • Director and interview
    Jan Van den Bossche
  • Music recording, edit and mix
    Guido Tichelman
  • Camera
    Gijs Besseling
  • Producer
    Jessie Verbrugh
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