1 LP - 416 141-1 - (p) 1985
1 CD - 416 141-2 - (p) 1985


Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Suite in E minor, BWV 996

14' 16"

- Praeludio. Presto
2' 10"  

- Allemande 3' 20"

- Courante 2' 23"

- Sarabande
2' 59"

- Bourrée 0' 57"

- Gigue 2' 27"

Fantasia and Fugue in A minor, BWV 904
7' 22"

- Allegro -
2' 47"

- Fuga (Allegro moderato)
4' 35"

Toccata in E minor, BWV 914
7' 02"

- (-) Un poco allegro
2' 06"

- Adagio 1' 55"

- Fuga (Allegro)
3' 01"

Capriccio in B flat, BWV 992 - "sopra la lontananza del suo fratello dilettissimo"
12' 33"

- 1. Arioso (Allegro)
2' 25"

- 2. (-)
1' 56"

- 3. Adagissimo
2' 53"

- 4. (-)
1' 00"

- 5. Aria di postiglione (Allegro poco)
1' 52"

- 6. Fuga all'imitazione della cornetta di postiglione
2' 27"

Prelude, Fugue and Allegro in E flat, BWV 998
11' 52"

- Prélude 3' 12"

- Fuga 5' 45"

- Allegro 2' 55"

Gustav Leonhardt, Harpsichord (William Dowd, Paris, 1984, fter M. Mietke (?), c.1715. Berlin) - a' = 415 Hertz


Luogo e data di registrazione
Haarlem (The Netherlands) - Dicembre 1984

Registrazione: live / studio

Recording Supervision


Prima Edizione LP
Philips | LC 0305 | 416 141-1 | 1 LP - durata 54' 31" | (p) 1985 | DDD

Edizione CD
Philips | LC 0305 | 416 141-2 | 1 CD - durata 54' 31" | (p) 1985 | DDD

Cover Art



If one arranges the works played on this recording in a roughly chronological order, the "Capriccio on the Departure of a Beloved Brother", BWV 992, is verifiahly the earliest. Bach wrote the six-movement piece in Arnstadt in 1704 when his brother, Johann Jacob, was preparing so travel in Sweden to join king Karl XII's Guards as an oboist. Clearly influenced, to some extest, by the programmatic "Biblical" Sonatas of Johann Kuhnau, which had been published four years earlier, the young Bach devised a series of genre pieces of amazing vividness, to which he gave descriptive titles. In the first, friends plead with the aspiring traveller in smooth consecutive sixths, trying to whendly him into giving up the journey. In the second, they point out, in sorrowfully falling a modulations, the many perils he may encounter in a foreign land. In the third, they raise a general Lamento with many sighing motives. The fourth piece is devoted fo the departure; everyone seems to be treading on everyone else's heels as chords and entries pile up after each other. The aria of the postillon, with a realistc crack of the whip, in followed finally by a lively, swinging fugue on the posthorn fanfare, accompanied by two obbligato contrapostal parts.
The E minor Toccata, BWV 914, was written around 1710, during Bach's "Sturm und Drang" period - the "storm and stress" years of duty in Weimar. The impetuous, sometimes free and rhapsodical form has the air of a long-breathed improvisation. As in all keyboard toccatas, Bach begins with solo runs and ends with a bread fugue. Opening and close are linked by a figure which descends diatonically within the compass of a fith. This also anticipates the cerebral, contemplative double fugato. An Adagio follows, in which it becomes clear that Bach is aisning at motivistic relationship and inser connextion of the movements within the work.
Probably around 1720, Bach came into close contact with the Dresden court lutenist, Silvius Leopold Weiss. It is clear that we owe to his encouragement a series of lute compositions, among them the Suite in E minor, BWV 996 and the Prelude, Allegro, and Fugue in E flat, BWV 998. Since compositions for the lute and for the clavier had for many years been interchangeable, these pieces were equally suited to interpretation on the harpsichord. In the E minor Suite, the five stylised dances (Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Bourrée, and virtuosically fugal Gigue) are preceded by a highly original prelude - a free, harmonically piquant, toccata-like opening, headed Passaggio, followed by a strict, fugal Presto. The hand of the mature mastree is again evident in the three movement E flat major work, which Bach seems to have conceived originally for harpsichord. The prelude has much in common with the opening movements of the "French" Suites. The sizable da capo fugue - a rarity from Bach - has a playful middle section, dominated by a fresh, repeatedly extended motive. The work, which is intensified from one movement to the next, culminates in a precipitate, richly figured Allegro.
The Fantasy and Fugue in A minor, BWV 904 may have been written in Cöthen, or perhaps later, in Leipzig. It is a clavier work which closely approaches the mature organ style. The Fantasy is constructed in concertante style as a ritornello piece, with clear distinctions between tutti and solo sections. The double fugue is of convincing claruty and balance. Bach develops Theme I in the forst part: in the second he immediately introduces Theme II (in the form of the rhetorical figure of the passus duriusculus, the chromatically descending fourth) and then combines both themes in a stretto towards the end. The whole fugue, including the episodes, grows exclusively from the thematic material is a model of the utmost concentration and spiritualisation of music.
Lothar Hoffmann-Erbrecht
Translation: Miriam Verhey-Lewis