The French Suites, BWV 812817, are six suites which
Johann Sebastian Bach wrote for the clavier
(harpsichord or clavichord) between the years of 1722
and 1725. The suites were later given the name 'French'
(first recorded usage by Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg in
1762) as a means of contrast with the English Suites
(whose title is likewise a later appellation). The name
was popularised by Bach's biographer Johann Nikolaus
Forkel, who wrote in his 1802 biography of Bach, "One
usually calls them French Suites because they are
written in the French manner." This claim, however, is
inaccurate: like Bach's other suites, they follow a
largely Italian convention.
There is no surviving definitive manuscript of these
suites, and ornamentation varies both in type and in
degree across manuscripts.
Although the suites were originally written for
Harpsichord, I created this arrangement for Woodwind
Trio (Flute, Oboe and Bassoon).