Annotated Track List


1. Praeludium

As mentioned, this is part of the suite “addenda” or supplements beyond the canonical, so no multiple versions here. In the spirit of the kit, you may kick off your suite with it or leave it out, as 99.9% of current players do. It is a brief beauty, though.

2. Allemande (v1)

Other than my own straightforward ornamentation, this is the Henle “P418” text.

3. Allemande (v2)

A brisker version that takes the referenced P224 manuscript as its textual source. This is the text that caused my ears to buckle when I first heard it as noted above.

4. Allemande (v3)

In addition to the obvious tempo change, this incorporates a distinctive triplet figure between many of the thirds, as well as other improvisatory gestures.

5. Allemande (v4)

A broadly expansive version, and one that seems to me to best satisfy the “processional” nature of the dance, as well as to savor its delicious harmonies.

6. Courante (v1)

As with all the versions here, this first is based on the Henle text.

7. Courante (v2)

This comes from the alternate text, P224, although I have expanded the figures to all possible locales.

8. Courante (v3)

As light and quick as possible.

9. Sarabande (v1)

This is the way I’ve heard it in my head for 40 years, all idiosyncrasies attached, though I believe I used to play it more slowly.

10. Sarabande (v2)

I don’t typically like Sarabandes at a faster tempo, but it’s an interesting addition to the Kit.

11. Sarabande (v3)

If I could just steal Rübsam’s performance and put it here, I would; but that’s illegal so I am forced to liberally “borrow” and put my spin on a version I adore.

12. Gavotte (v1)

The basic quickstep.

13. Gavotte (v2)

Dotting the rhythm, something I doubt is terribly authentic, but as you know from the introduction my credit there isn’t terribly strong.

14. Gavotte (v3)

Textual changes per the P224 manuscript; I had never heard this version before doing my researches, and I am still unaware of any performer to program it.

15. Gavotte (v4)

Ornamentation (and tempo) alternate.

16. Gavotte 2

This an an entirely new Gavotte, which I’d never heard until I saw Richter play it live. It really is delightful and a revelatory find. As for placement, Ms Schneider suggests it be followed with a da capo repetition of the first Gavotte.

17. Menuet (v1)

If you forced me to choose a single movement to keep for my desert isle, it would certainly be this Menuet.

18. Menuet (v2)

My own ornaments.

19. Menuet (v3)

Another part of the forest.

20. Menuet di Stölzel

Not part of the real French Suite, and not by Bach. But what a lovely tune, more of a lullaby than a menuet, to my mind. I have taken liberties with the ornament and repetition.

21. Air (v1)

As noted, the least dance-like of the suites, and an obsessive technical challenge to play.

22. Air (v2)

Another opportunity for triplet-ized thirds: more to come in future suites!

23. Air (v3)

Subtly different text, based on the P224 manuscript.

24. Gigue (v1)

A relatively straightforward reading of the P418 gigue.

25. Gigue (v2)

I borrow Gould’s held tones in the repeat, which are completely and beautifully stuck in my ear.

26. Gigue (v3)

This is my own arrangement: I switched the right hand to the left, and vice versa. I think it works! (Even if it’s not idiomatic: hello inserted 9/8 measure!)

27. Gigue (v4)

Another look at octave switching, in the hope it satisfyingly rounds out your kit.