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Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 1750)
Suite No. 3 in D Major, BWV 1068 (1725) [21.37]
Suite No. 4 in D Major, BWV 1069 (1725) [21.02]
Wilhelm Friedemann BACH (1710-1784) (attrib.)

Suite in G minor (formerly attrib. J.S. Bach as BWV 1070) [16.55]
Jean-François Paillard Chamber Orchestra/Jean-François Paillard
rec. 1962. ADD
WARNER APEX 2564-61686-2 [59.34]

Aesthetically, this is old-fashioned, big-orchestra Bach, but without the big orchestra. In the two canonical suites, the slow introductions are solidly, even stolidly, weighted, with the dotted rhythms consciously squared-off. The ensuing fugues chug along cheerfully and more or less indiscriminately, with no real sense of purpose or destination, though terraced dynamics contribute short-term variety. The Air from BWV 1068 is not glamorized, but the harpsichord tinkles only very occasionally and is kept well in the background. The dance-based movements are reasonably paced, but some of them start off on the wrong foot in the poetic sense: the strong tutti attack on the Bourrée of BWV 1069, for example, loses the "upbeat" feeling, throwing the musical scansion out of whack.

In hindsight, it's hard to see how anyone could have mistaken the G minor suite, currently identified as Wilhelm Friedemann's, for Dad's work. (RCA's Stateside LP licensing, back in the 1970s, proudly identified it as "Suite No. 5"!) Its Ouverture is just "introductory" music, not at all ceremonial in manner; the Aria, constructed from short, segmented motifs, resembles neither the famous Air cited earlier nor any similarly titled movement of Johann Sebastian's I know; and only the fugued opening of the concluding Capriccio evinces any contrapuntal interest. That noted, this remains a pleasing, gracious piece of Baroquerie which oughtn't be neglected just because of its spurious former attribution, and might be sufficient reason to investigate this disc at bargain price.

Moments of congestion when the trumpets are going, and of dryness when they're not, betray the age of the decent stereo recording, and the digital processing exposes previously buried bits of sclerotic execution in the low strings.


Stephen Francis Vasta

see also

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 - 1750) Orchestral Suite No.1 in C major BWV1066 (1724) Orchestral Suite No.2 in B minor BWV1067 (1738) Orchestre de Chambre Jean-François Paillard/Jean-François Paillard.recorded in 1963 no further details given. ADD WARNER APEX 2564 61257-2 [4533"] [JPh]

Apex are to be congratulated on this release which I can recommend wholeheartedly

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