The Partitas, BWV 825?830, are a set of six Harpsichord
suites written by Johann Sebastian Bach, published from
1726 to 1730 as Clavier-Übung I, and the first of his
works to be published under his direction. They were,
however, among the last of his keyboard suites to be
composed, the others being the 6 English Suites, BWV
806-811 and the 6 French Suites, BWV 812-817.
The six Partitas (BWV 825-830) are part of Bach's
Clavier-Übung, but were published singly, beginning in
1726 with this B flat major effort. A new partita
appeared each year thereafter until 1731, when the
whole collection was issued. Each of the six is a suite
containing allemandes, sarabandes, minuets, and various
other dances and numbers. The B flat major Partita
consists of seven short movements, the first being a
praeludium, a moderately paced piece so typical of
Bach's music in its stately confidence, serene joy, and
deftly wrought contrapuntal writing. There follow an
allemande, corrente (courante), sarabande, and gigue
which comprise the standard sequence of dances that
make up a partita. Actually, Bach inserted two brief
minuets between the sarabande and gigue.
The allemande is lively and brimming with thematic
activity, contrapuntal elements abounding in subtle
detail, the music racing by breathlessly under beams of
sunshine. The corrente is a bit shorter than the two
previous movements. It, too, is lively, but lighter in
mood and more carefree than the allemande.
Although this piece was originally written for
Harpsichord, I arranged it for Concert (Pedal) Harp.