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Bach: French Suites Double CD

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (1 Jan. 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Double CD
  • Label: Hyperion
  • ASIN: B00000300T
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 96,307 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. (Adagio)
  2. Allegro
  3. Andante - Allegretto Tranquillo - Andante
  4. Allegro
  5. Allemande
  6. Courante
  7. Sarabande
  8. Menuet 1 & 2
  9. Gigue
  10. Allemande
  11. Courante
  12. Sarabande
  13. Air
  14. Menuet 1 & 2
  15. Gigue
  16. Allemande
  17. Courante
  18. Sarabande
  19. Anglaise
  20. Menuet and Trio
  21. Gigue
  22. Prelude in C Major
  23. Prelude in G Minor - Sergei Rachmaninov
  24. Prelude in D Major
  25. Prelude in D Minor
  26. Prelude in F Major
  27. Prelude in F Major

Disc: 2

  1. Prelude in C Major
  2. Prelude in C Minor
  3. Prelude in D Minor
  4. Prelude in D Major
  5. Prelude in E Major
  6. Prelude in E Minor
  7. Prelude in C Major
  8. Prelude in D Minor
  9. Prelude in E Minor
  10. Prelude in a Minor
  11. Prelude in C Major
  12. Prelude in C Minor
  13. Praeludium
  14. Allemande
  15. Courante
  16. Sarabande
  17. Gavotte 1
  18. Gavotte 2
  19. Menuet
  20. Air
  21. Gigue
  22. Allemande
  23. Courante - Sergei Rachmaninov
  24. Sarabande
  25. Gavotte
  26. Bourrée
  27. Loure
  28. Gigue
  29. Allemande
  30. Courante
  31. Sarabande
  32. Gavotte
  33. Polonaise
  34. Bourrée
  35. Menuet
  36. Gigue
  37. Prelude
  38. Fugue

Product Description

Product Description

Suites Françaises 1 à 6, BWV 812 à 817 / Angela Hewitt, piano

Review

Editor's choice --Gramophone

'Hewitt's playing makes Bach's music live, for me, in a way that even the greatest harpsichordists do not' --The Sunday Times

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 9 Aug. 2001
Format: Audio CD
Angela Hewitt brings the French Suites dazzingly to life. It's hard not to fall in love with this set, which is carried throughout by a lightness of touch and rhythmic lilt that captures all the grace of Bach's keyboard writing. A real selling-point of this enchanting disc must also be the so-called fillers: a Sonata for D originally scored for another key on the violin, and the 18 little preludes so familiar to learners of the piano. The preludes in particular are played with such a sense pure delight that the disc would be well worth the money for these alone. More please, Angela!
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Format: Audio CD
This is a stunning recording. The readings are faithful and clear, and I don't think I've ever heard the different lines of Bach's polyphony so well articulated. Her tone is absolutely beautiful and without any suggestion of pedal. Sometimes I've caught my breath in wonder at a particular effect she's created. Underneath it all lies a strong intelligence, and the recording quality is faultless. There are some wonderfully daring fast moves. Eat your heart out, Glenn Gould - I think you've just been knocked off a perch.
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Format: Audio CD
Recorded early in Angela Hewitt's Bach cycle, the popular French Suites (along with the "Little Preludes" and other two more dynamic virtuoso pieces) take a step back from the more serious and complex fugal compositions of Bach and settle into the restrained elegance of the courtly and rustic dances of the era. Although Bach never titled these works as "French," the suites take much of their inspritation from the various "dance" forms of music in that period (French mainly) that form each suite: the processional German-inspired allemandes ... the stately French courantes ... the spicier Italian correntes ... the slow and meditative sarabandes of Spanish-origin ... the French-aristocratic minuets, gavottes and airs ... the bouncy and free-spirited bourrees ... and, to close the suite, the most musically serious French gigues (inspired by the English 'jig'). The three minor-key suites take a more introverted flavor while the three major-key suites are more extraverted and bright. Suites 5 and 6 are perhaps the most popular for their bright, major-key sounds.
Angela Hewitt's poised playing here wonderfully matches the spirit of this noble music and is best described as refined, elegant and with great artistry. Her decorative touches never seem overdone and always delightfully enhance the atmosphere of the music. Penguin Guide gave this set their "Recommended Recording" of all the available recordings of the French Suites, which seems to attest to Hewitt's ability to match her style and execution with the intent of the composition. It all just sounds "right" for this type of music. Addtionally, the sound quality is clear and without extraneous noise and has a somewhat-spacious but pleasant ambiance.
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Format: Audio CD
The Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt has recorded Bach's complete works for solo keyboard on 14 CD releases. Her recording of the French Suites was the second in the cycle, dating from 1995. In Bach's music and in Hewitt's performance, this is a special recording. In addition, the CD is special to me. I received it as a surprise gift from two friends. I was touched that they gave me a gift and that they knew me well enough to make a perfect choice.

I approached this CD from the perspective of an amateur who tries to play Bach on the piano. I learned a great deal from Hewitt's performances as well as from her detailed liner notes. Hewitt is not a period performer. Rather, she plays Bach on the piano with an appreciation of the capabilities of the instrument to capture the spirit of the music. Her playing tends toward restraint and self-effacement. Bach's music comes first. Hewitt writes in her liner notes of the decisions that need to be made in playing even the technically easiest pieces of Bach in matters such as tempo, phrasing, articulation, dynamics, and ornamentation. Her thougtful approach to the French Suites and other music on this CD set comes through in every measure. I tried to listen to the linear character of the music in each of the two hands. Hewitt emphasizes the melodic line, but each line of the music can be heard with clarity. This is a difficult attainment on the piano.

Bach's six French Suites were composed between 1722 and 1725. They are based upon dance movements used in French and Italian music of his day, but there is nothing particularly "French" about the suites. The movements of each suite are in the same key, unlike, say, the latter classical sonata. Of Bach's six suites, the first three are in minor keys while the second three are in major keys.
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