JS Bach English Suites — Richard Egarr

Bach, JS (1685-1750)

Academy of Ancient Music

Richard Egarr solo harpsichord

Year: 2013
Catalogue: HMF 907591


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About this album

Richard Egarr's lastest solo release showcases some of the most enigmatic and imaginative of Bach's music — the so-called "English Suites".



"Egarr's energy and sustained vitality is breathtaking. The dances are full of imaginative touches... Egarr displays an extraordinary tonal range, from harp-like resonance to transparency. The best harpsichord recital of these Suites on disc." ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

BBC Music Magazine

“After robust, earthy Purcell and delicately characterful Louis Couperin, Richard Egarr's Bach English Suites are carefully controlled, polished, thoughtful and reserved... Egarr's tempi can be recommended as canonical to students of this music. His preludes unfold with excitement and virtuosity but never feel rushed or forced.”

Gramophone Magazine

“Harpsichordist Egarr's reading of Bach's English Suites recaptures the infectious conversational quality of his recording of the Brandenburg Concertos with the Academy of Ancient Music.This time the musical partnership is with the listener. From the elegant formality of the A major Suite to the quasi-orchestral flamboyance of the A minor, Egarr is good company. A remarkable cycle played with pungent physicality and generous wit”

The Independent

“This is yet another fine release from one of the most consistently stimulating keyboard artists recording today.”

International Record Review


Richard Egarr on the English Suites

"As a player I find personally the most pleasure in the earlier keyboard collections. The Toccatas, Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1, Brandenburg Concerto No.5 and the so-called English Suites seem to delight in purely physical keyboard pleasure and imagination that is often absent from the later works. This is a true cycle of pieces – one of Bach’s first and certainly one of his best. The care with which Bach has planned their path, and the skill in creating a musical journey to a most fearful place is astonishing. The way to redemption and salvation after this journey is perhaps shown by the key sequence of the Suites: A a g F e d. These six notes clearly describe the Chorale tune ‘Jesu, meine Freude’. I recorded the Suites in order; I certainly felt that it helped me make the musical path clearer. My trusty Katzman harpsichord was a glorious partner, its quill plectra wonderfully flexible and responsive in giving life and colour to this most imaginative music.”