Our Music Director Richard Egarr launches his new recording of Bach’s English Suites with lunch-time performances in Cambridge (31 Jan) and London (2 Feb). Ahead of the release, he talked to Harmonia Mundi about these enigmatic works.
“As a player I find personally the most pleasure in the earlier keyboard collections. The Toccatas, Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1, Brandenburg Concerto No.5 and the so-called English Suites seem to delight in purely physical keyboard pleasure and imagination that is often absent from the later works. This is a true cycle of pieces – one of Bach’s first and certainly one of his best. The care with which Bach has planned their path, and the skill in creating a musical journey to a most fearful place is astonishing. The way to redemption and salvation after this journey is perhaps shown by the key sequence of the Suites: A a g F e d. These six notes clearly describe the Chorale tune ‘Jesu, meine Freude’. I recorded the Suites in order; I certainly felt that it helped me make the musical path clearer. My trusty Katzman harpsichord was a glorious partner, its quill plectra wonderfully flexible and responsive in giving life and colour to this most imaginative music.”
Listen to an excerpt on the AAM website here