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Bach: The French Suites


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Product details

  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (27 Feb 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B00004TTIH
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 85,112 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


Disc 1:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. J.S. Bach: Suite in E flat major, BWV 819 - Allemande 3:37£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. J.S. Bach: Suite in E flat major, BWV 819 - Courante 2:10£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. J.S. Bach: Suite in E flat major, BWV 819 - Sarabande 4:12£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. J.S. Bach: Suite in E flat major, BWV 819 - Bourée 1:41£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. J.S. Bach: Suite in E flat major, BWV 819 - Menuet I 1:06£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. J.S. Bach: Suite in E flat major, BWV 819 - Menuet II 2:35£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. J.S. Bach: Allemande, BWV819a 4:16£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. J.S. Bach: Suite in A minor, BWV 818a - Fort gai 1:52£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. J.S. Bach: Suite in A minor, BWV 818a - Allemande 3:37£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen10. J.S. Bach: Suite in A minor, BWV 818a - Courante 1:31£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen11. J.S. Bach: Suite in A minor, BWV 818a - Sarabande 2:58£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen12. J.S. Bach: Suite in A minor, BWV 818a - Menuet 1:24£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen13. J.S. Bach: Suite in A minor, BWV 818a - Gigue 2:31£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen14. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.1 in D minor, BWV 812 - 1. Allemande 4:24£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen15. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.1 in D minor, BWV 812 - 2. Courante 2:20£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen16. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.1 in D minor, BWV 812 - 3. Sarabande 3:26£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen17. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.1 in D minor, BWV 812 - 4. Menuet I - II 1:18£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen18. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.1 in D minor, BWV 812 - 5. Gigue 2:52£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen19. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.1 in D minor, BWV 812 - 6. Gigue 2:45£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen20. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.2 in C minor, BWV 813 - 1. Allemande 3:26£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen21. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.2 in C minor, BWV 813 - 2. Courante 2:11£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen22. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.2 in C minor, BWV 813 - 3. Sarabande 3:20£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen23. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.2 in C minor, BWV 813 - 4. Air 1:26£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen24. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.2 in C minor, BWV 813 - 5a. Menuet I 1:26£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen25. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.2 in C minor, BWV 813 - 6a. Menuet II 2:04£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen26. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.2 in C minor, BWV 813 - 6. Gigue 2:27£0.79  Buy MP3 


Disc 2:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.3 in B minor, BWV 814 - 1. Allemande 4:02£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.3 in B minor, BWV 814 - 2. Courante 2:13£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.3 in B minor, BWV 814 - 3. Sarabande 3:17£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.3 in B minor, BWV 814 - 4. Anglaise 1:35£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.3 in B minor, BWV 814 - Minuet I 1:23£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.3 in B minor, BWV 814 - Minuet II 1:54£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.3 in B minor, BWV 814 - 6. Gigue 2:17£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.4 in E flat, BWV 815 - 1. Allemande 3:18£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.4 in E flat, BWV 815 - 2. Courante 1:52£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen10. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.4 in E flat, BWV 815 - 3. Sarabande 2:49£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen11. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.4 in E flat, BWV 815 - 4. Gavotte 1:17£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen12. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.4 in E flat, BWV 815 - 5. Menuet 1:49£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen13. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.4 in E flat, BWV 815 - 6. Air0:59£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen14. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.4 in E flat, BWV 815 - 7. Gigue 2:33£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen15. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.5 in G, BWV 816 - 1. Allemande 3:44£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen16. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.5 in G, BWV 816 - 2. Courante 1:54£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen17. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.5 in G, BWV 816 - 3. Sarabande 4:22£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen18. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.5 in G, BWV 816 - 4. Gavotte 1:13£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen19. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.5 in G, BWV 816 - 5. Bourrée 1:25£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen20. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.5 in G, BWV 816 - 6. Loure 2:11£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen21. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.5 in G, BWV 816 - 7. Gigue 3:46£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen22. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.6 in E, BWV 817 - 1. Allemande 3:26£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen23. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.6 in E, BWV 817 - 2. Courante 1:51£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen24. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.6 in E, BWV 817 - 3. Sarabande 3:15£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen25. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.6 in E, BWV 817 - 4. Gavotte 1:13£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen26. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.6 in E, BWV 817 - 5. Polonaise 1:23£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen27. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.6 in E, BWV 817 - 7. Bourrée 1:25£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen28. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.6 in E, BWV 817 - 6. Menuet 1:39£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen29. J.S. Bach: French Suite No.6 in E, BWV 817 - 8. Gigue 2:27£0.79  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Product Description

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Amazon.co.uk

Anna Magdalena Bach may have had a big child-bearing burden, but musically she was a lucky young woman: the pieces her husband Johann Sebastian wrote for her were both educational tools and supreme works of art. The French Suites are not as elaborate as their English counterparts, but whereas the latter were written for the harpsichord, the former were for the domestic clavichord--a much more intimate instrument. Bach couldn't refrain from embellishing and exploring--the technical demands may be modest, but the effects are often orchestral in their richness. He himself didn't label them "French"--that was done after his death--but with their allemandes, sarabandes and gigues they perfectly mirror the French dance styles all the rage in the 1720s. Christopher Hogwood's recordings were made in the mid-1980s, and are unfussily serviceable, but there are better things on the market. Try instead Gustav Leonhardt's version or--if you find those too magisterial--try Davitt Moroney's. There you will get all the colour and drama which these works ideally demand. --Michael Church

Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Riley on 18 Oct 2009
Format: Audio CD
I am moved to respond to the previous unreasonably negative review of these excellent and scholarly performances.
I paid three times today's price of this album when I bought it 15 years ago and have never regretted it.
If you can't abide the sound of the harpsichord, these are not for you! Go for someone like Angela Hewitt instead. If some of the keys sound a bit "odd" this could well be because Hogwood is playing instruments with uneven temperament - just as Bach did.
As a bonus you get two extra, rarely-performed, Bach keyboard suites. What a bargain!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Steen Mencke on 3 Nov 2009
Format: Audio CD
There are not that many recordings of these suites played on the harpsichord. Apart from this one, I have in my collection only the recording made in 1993 by Keith Jarrett, which, different as it indisputably is, is also fine and deeply felt. Christopher Hogwood is these days by far most renowned as a conductor. He, however, also plays the keyboard part on most of his recordings, and considering how well this is done I have often wondered why he never got around to making more recordings of the solo works of J. S. Bach, as well as why he left the harpsichord to Christophe Rousset on his renderings of the concertos from the late nineties. Still, I can't blame him for feeling a bit thinly spread with all the fine discs he has left us over the last thirty-odd years. Hogwoods insight into the artistic mind of the Baroque composer is simply second to none, and these French Suites, quite apart from being no doubt the ones closest in style and sound to how Bach would have wanted them, are fine and crisp examples of that particular kind of courtly elegance so popular in the 1720's. If one can appreciate the timbre of the slightly clangy harpsichord one needs look no further than to this set for a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

It is always dangerous to compare recordings of keyboard music played on old, original instruments (in this case harpsichords restored in the 1780's) with recordings made on a modern piano, no matter how much it may have been altered for the purpose - Gould's version of the suites being a case in point. When adding apples and oranges - as we were all taught in arithmetic not to do - one is likely to end up with strange and misleading results, and in the case of music this is fair to neither instrument nor artist. Consequently I have to say that I find the review of Mr. J.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By William Shardlow on 3 Jun 2013
Format: Audio CD
The best keyboard music by Bach, played with spirit and vigour on a good instrument, can provide heavenly experiences. For me, I've had such experiences listening to versions on modern piano and period harpsichord. For instance, I was recently taken to cloud 9 by Pinnock's version of Bach's Partitas, on a period harpsichord, and Perahia's version of the concertos on a modern piano. But Hogwood's versions of the French Suites I didn't like at all. It's an extremely monotonous outing for some fairly minor Bach. I've listened to it twice, and I can't bear the thought of listening to it again.
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3 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mr. J. K. Carvell on 12 Sep 2009
Format: MP3 Download
When looking for a recording of the French Suites it is difficult to know where to start, considering how many recordings there are out there.
Well I wouldn't advise starting here. I bought this recording and one by Gould and I have to say the Gould outclasses Hogwood at every turn. Hogwood, in this recording, has opted for a harpsichord tempered in the manner of a 17th century harpsichord, which whilst effective in some keys, sounds odd and jarring at times; for example, the start of the Eb Major suite. This movement sums up the whole recording, it is an Allemande which I suppose should probably be quite grandiose, slow and majestic. However, in Hogwood's hands it sounds laboured, bloated and rather self-indulgent. Don't buy this disc, get Gould's recording - much more illuminating, much better technique and a great deal more fun.
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2 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Bernard Michael O'Hanlon on 27 Mar 2012
Format: Audio CD
"Comrades - welcome to the hollowed-out volcano, the global headquarters of SPECTRE (Sinister Period-Practice Enacted to Counter Traditional Readings Everlastingly). You are our future! We're glad you're here!"

Thus spoke the SPECTRE flunkey to the graduate-intake of 2012 - some fifty or so young musicians, evenly split evenly between the sexes. Every continent on earth bar Antarctica was represented in the ranks.

"You have been chosen for your fidelity to the Cause," the flunkey trumpeted, "and your bloodlessness. Your classes start tomorrow with a series of lectures on our ideological enemies - Tsarists such as Beecham, Mengelberg, Stokowski, Klemperer, Furtwangler and Karajan. Mensheviks such as Sir Neville Marriner will also be addressed. To assist you with your acclimatisation, we've provided you with an induction-pack - you'll find it under your seats. Please open it up."

The graduates did so with excitement.

"In addition to the usual sweets `n treats, you'll find a book titled `How to Clip Phrases, Leach Grandeur from Works and Gallivant around Europe on a Whimsical Bach Pilgrimage' by - you've guessed it - Number Four: Sir John Eliot Gardiner. Jeggy drops in here quite often - and he likes being asked for his autograph so keep your copy at hand. It's accompanied by a second book: `How I Learned to Stop Worrying about my Gonads and Became a Counter Tenor' by Rene Jacobs, who is Number Five in our Organisation. Rene has made the ultimate sacrifice for SPECTRE. He warrants adulation."

The flunkey drew a breath.

"But we have saved the best for last. If you look at the bottom of your packs, you'll find a copy of Bach's French Suites, performed by Number One himself - Ernst Hogwood-Blofeld - in November 1983. What a treasure it is!
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