Sunday, December 30, 2012

Townsend: Suite in A major, Sarabande by J. S. Bach

The next movement in the Suite in A major (transcribed from the First Cello Suite in G major, BWV 1007) is the Sarabande. As I mentioned earlier, the sarabande, one of the four core dances of the Baroque suite, originated in Mexico and first appears in Europe in guitar tablature. Originally it was a sexy and vigorous dance which led to its being banned in some places. The earliest versions are just strummed chords. Unfortunately, there seem to be no examples of the early sarabande on YouTube. But here is a later example, by Johann-Anton Logy:

As time went on, the sarabande was slowed down and became the heart of the suite with the most expressive depth. There are a few sarabandes where Bach has written out ornamentation. For most he has not. This could mean either that he thought it was unnecessary or just that it was unnecessary for him to write it! Much of the time, I think Bach does not need added ornaments. But I have put in a few in this sarabande. There are only a couple of portraits of Bach from his lifetime, both of which I have already used, so for this clip, I have put in an 18th century etching of the Thomaskirche Square and the first page of the First Violin Sonata, in Bach's original manuscript. Then the opening of my transcription of the sarabande and some photos of me.

No comments: