BACH'S FRENCH SUITES
Played by JAMES CHING
First French Suite in D Minor
THE ' French ' Suites of pieces for the Clavier
(i.e., nowadays, for the Piano) are a set of six which Bach wrote about 1720-1722 for his second wife, Anna Magdalena , to play. Their gracious, friendly spirit suggests that Bach and his wife were very happy together.
It was not Bach's idea to call the Suites
' French.' This was a nickname, probably bestowed by the family, to distinguish them for their lightness-this being a characteristic of French music in those days, as ever since. There is nothing French about them.
The Suites contain from six to eight pieces in dance styles, the four foundational Movements being the Allemande, flowing with continuous easy swing; the slow, stately Sarabande; the lively running Courante, and the capering Gigue.
The Allemande, Courante and Sarabande came . first, second and third respectively. The other two, three or four places are filled by various dances, the Minuet appearing in several of the suites. The full list of the Movements in each of the six Suites runs thus :-
FIRST SUITE. Allemande, Courante, Sarabande,
First Minuet, Second Minuet, Gigue.
SECOND SUITE. Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Air, Minuet, Gigue.
THIRD SUITE, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, First Minuet, Second Minuet, Anglaise (a lively, skipping piece), Gigue.
FOURTH SUITE, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Gavotte, Minuet, Air, Gigue.
FIFTH SUITE, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Gavotte, Bouree, Louie (an old French dance, so named because in olden days the bagpipe accompanied it), Gigue.
SIXTH SUITE, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Gavotte, Polonaise, Bouree, Minuet, Gigue.
A Play by WILHELM MEYER-FÖRSTER
Translated from the German by CATHERINE POCHIN
Produced by HOWARD ROSE
Gentlemen-in-Waiting, Officers, Students, Musicians, Servants
Act I-The Antechamber of the Prince's room at Karlsburg. A gloomy apartment, hung with tapestry such as is often found in old castles.
Act II—The Garden at Rüder's Inn in Heidelberg.
Act III-Karl Heinrieh's Room in Rüder's House
Act IV (Two years later)-The Room of Prince
Karl in the Castle of Karlsburg.
Act V—Rüder's Garden.