I still remember listening to harpsichordist Richard Egarr perform the music of Bach at a concert at Stanford University several years ago. It was totally amazing.
Today I have for you a new recording by this excellent artist:
Bach, J S: Partitas Nos. 1-6, BWV825-830
Performed by Richard Egarr (harpsichord Joel Katzman, Amsterdam, 1991, after Ruckers, Antwerp, 1638). Tuning: A = 399.
Any composer’s Op.1 is a big deal. Bach modelled his own after Kuhnau’s ‘Neue Clavier Übung’, books 1 and 2 which were published in 1689 and 1692. Bach’s ability to ‘see’ and create a long-term ‘project’ has its spooky beginnings here.
Although the music that makes up these six Partitas was ready and waiting, rather than publish them together, Bach staggered their delivery. Partita 1 came in 1726, with the other five appearing gradually over the next four years, until finally in 1731 the entire six Partitas were presented as his ‘Clavir [sic] Ubung . . . Opus 1 . . . 1731’.
Bach infuses this seemingly effortless music with amazing patterns and personal algorithms of stunning brilliance. Many pages have been spent in the pursuit of secret codes in Bach’s music. We leave this for another time…
Here is Richard Egarr playing the music of Bach: