Suite in A major

Suite in A major

BWV 832 performed by Olivier Fortin
at home in Suin, France

  • Menu
  • 1. Allemande
  • 2. Air pour les Trompettes
  • 3. Sarabande
  • 4. Bourrée
  • 5. Gigue

Behind the music

Extra videos
Extra videos

An air of France

In his younger years, Bach took inspiration from Lully and Marais.

This suite is one of Bach’s works in the ‘Möller manuscript’, as it is known. This manuscript was compiled between 1703 and 1707 by Bach’s elder brother Johann Christoph, with whom Johann Sebastian had moved in, following the death of their parents. So Bach could not have been older than about 20.

The manuscript also contains French keyboard music: a chaconne by Lully and suites by Lebèque and Marchand. Nearly everything about Bach’s own suite seems to be French-inspired: the musical style, the exciting harmonies in the Sarabande, and the idea of an Air pour les trompettes. Both this French title and the description itself are reminiscent of keyboard arrangements of Lully’s music, which was also popular in Germany. Moreover, another manuscript compiled by Johann Christoph Bach in the same period includes a keyboard arrangement of an Air de trompette by Marin Marais, with which the young Johann Sebastian must also have been familiar.

Unlike the organs Bach played on, we know very little about the harpsichords that were at his disposal. They probably ranged from clavichords and spinets to large harpsichords with two manuals, like the one he would get in Köthen, in 1719. Like Olivier Fortin, Bach must also have had an intimate relationship with his instrument(s). At the court in Weimar, where Bach was working when he probably wrote this suite, Prince Johann Ernst paid him in 1709 to “sort out 2 harpsichords”, but it is unclear exactly what type of instrument they were: French, German or – like Fortin’s instrument – a combination of the two?

Suite in A major
harpsichord works
ca. 1705-1713
Arnstad? Weimar?

Extra videos

Harpsichordist Olivier Fortin

“You already feel his extraordinary skill in the interesting harmonic development in the Sarabande.”

Vocal texs




  • Release date
    4 November 2021
  • Recording date
    17 April 2018
  • Location
    Suin, France
  • Harpsichordist
    Olivier Fortin
  • Harpsichord
    Jonte Knif & Arno Pelto 2004
  • Director and interview
    Jan Van den Bossche
  • Music recording, edit and mix
    Guido Tichelman
  • Camera
    Gijs Besseling
  • Producer
    Jessie Verbrugh
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