Partita no. 6 in E minor

Partita no. 6 in E minor

BWV 830 performed by Diego Ares
at Studio 150 - Bethlehem Church, Amsterdam

  • Menu
  • 1. Toccata
  • 2. Allemande
  • 3. Courante
  • 4. Air
  • 5. Sarabande
  • 6. Tempo di Gavotta
  • 7. Gigue

Behind the music


A complicated musical structure

French, German and Italian influences are combined in this serious partita

In the last twenty-five years of his life, Bach had several works printed – keyboard music, in particular. There was a market for this, and if Bach was famed for anything it was his prowess on the keyboard. This led to the printing of the Clavier-Übung between 1731 and 1741. We can see these collections as Bach’s musical testament, as they are the culmination of a development that took many years. 

The first part of the Clavier-Übung is devoted to the suite. As the name suggests, this form came from France, where people did a lot of dancing. French harpsichordists often played whole series of dances in a set order – called a suite. The French culture flourished in this period, so the suite also found its way to other countries. But culture does not develop in isolation. The Italians called the suite ‘partita’ and gave their own twist to it. This, in turn, influenced German composers who were writing suites. Bach uses the name ‘partita’ fairly frequently, and does so in the Clavier-Übung as well.

The Partita BWV 830 is the last of six in the Clavier-Übung I and is remarkable for its gravity. These six partitas are anyway more serious than the English and French suites Bach had written earlier. The composer begins with a long toccata in several parts, which is reminiscent of Buxtehude – the music of his youth. Further on in the work, too, Bach often chooses for complicated musical structures. The music is no longer very dancy. However, Bach combines French, German and Italian influences in exemplary fashion, creating a homogenous style, in which justice is done to every note. Well worthy of a testament.

Partita no. 6 in E minor
harpsichord works
Clavier-Übung I, II, IV, Six keyboard partitas
Published 1730, first version ca. 1725
Special notes
This partita is a revision of an earlier Partita in E minor, BWV 830.1, from the Clavier-Büchlein für Anna Magdalena Bach

Extra videos

Vocal texts




  • Release date
    7 September 2023
  • Recording date
    4 November 2020
  • Location
    Studio 150 - former Bethlehem Church, Amsterdam
  • Harpsichord
    Diego Ares
  • Instrument
    Joel Katzman, 1991 after Ruckers, 1638
  • Director, camera and lights
    Gijs Besseling
  • Music recording
    Guido Tichelman, Joeri Saal
  • Music edit and mix
    Guido Tichelman
  • Camera, lights
    Danny Noordanus
  • Data handling
    Stefan Ebels
  • Assistant music recording
    Marloes Biermans
  • Producer
    Jessie Verbrugh

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