Johann Sebastian Bach

Partita for keyboard No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826 (BC L2)

    Description by Robert Cummings

    While this partita and the four that followed appeared after 1726, all were written during that year, a year that saw publication of the B flat major piece first. Bach published a new partita each year until 1731, when all six appeared together. Each of these works consists of dances -- typically an Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, and Gigue -- and other pieces, forming a whole that could just as easily have been called a suite. They generally show Bach's lighter side, though there is a fair share of serious music here, too. All the partitas have seven movements except for this C minor effort, which comprises six. Another unusual aspect is its exclusion of a Gigue at the close, where Bach substituted a Rondeau and Capriccio.

    This suite opens with a Sinfonia which, speaking of serious music, achieves a depth of expression to rival much of Bach's more profound keyboard music. It is in three sections, the first ponderous and dramatic, the succeeding two having progressively faster tempos. The theme in the second section has a soothing serenity in its animated nonchalance, while the final part is lively and light in its variant of this theme, and brims with Bach's deft counterpoint and rhythmic subtlety.

    The Allemande that follows is somewhat subdued but features an undercurrent of contrapuntal activity with many delicious details that often come refreshingly to the foreground. The remaining four numbers are much shorter and lighter in expressive content. Best among them may be the ensuing Courante, a sunny, graceful piece whose contrapuntal elements seem to blend rather than conjure, imply rather than articulate.

    The ensuing Sarabande is slow, almost hymn-like in its solemn yet soothing manner. The lively Rondeau that follows is jumpy and full of playfulness, while the closing Capriccio is meatier, both in its muscular first section and in the inversion of material from the opening that comes in the latter half. It is also quite a challenging finale for the performer.

    This partita will have a duration of about 15 minutes, excluding repeats, a longer one than the slighter first, third, and fifth, but shorter than the fourth and sixth partitas.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Sinfonia. Grave Adagio - Andante
    2. Allemande
    3. Courante
    4. Sarabande
    5. Rondeau
    6. Capriccio

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2017 Harmonia Mundi HMU 907593
    2017 Divine Art ZDA 50601
    2017 Avie AV 2366
    2016 Willowhayne Records WLW 81278
    2016 Sono Luminus DSL 92209
    2016 Erato 557841
    2016 Steinway & Sons STNS 30062
    2015 Divine Art DDC 25751
    2015 Sony Classical 88875032222
    2015 Audite AUDITE 95720
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon B002364402
    2015 Orchid Classics ORC 100050
    2014 Sony Classical 88843076302
    2014 CRD Records CRD 35312
    2014 Dux Records DUX 134
    2013 Motéma Music MTM 116
    2013 Solo Musica SM 195
    2013 Verso VRS 2125
    2013 Steinway & Sons 30024
    2013 Challenge Classics CHR 72574
    2013 Sanctus SCS 027028029
    2013 La Dolce Volta LDV 04
    2013 Musica Omnia mo 0502
    2012 MDG / Zebralution
    2012 Melodiya MELCD 1002049
    2012 Quartz QTZ 2094
    2012 Air Note AIR 003
    2012 Gramola GLA 98945
    2012 Phil.Harmonie PHIL 06015
    2012 Oehms Classics OC 684
    2012 Mirare MIR 156
    2012 Doremi / Doremi Records DHR 79856
    2012 MSR Classics MS 1461
    2012 Naxos 8572427
    2012 Sony Classical 88725412772
    2012 Noromusic RN 170519
    2012 Nimbus NI 6207
    2012 Camerata Records CMCD 151156
    2012 IDIS 6646
    2012 Sony Classical 88691912562
    2012 Sony Classical 88697989432
    2012 Paladino Music PMR 0031
    2011 Erato
    2011 Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler PH11025
    2011 Centaur Records CRC 3122/3123/3124
    2011 Centaur Records CRC 3189
    2011 VAI Audio / Vai Audio VAIA 12782
    2011 Naïve OP 30528
    2011 Oehms Classics OC781
    2010 Hyperion 4442135
    2010 Steinway & Sons 30001
    2010 Decca 4782163
    2010 Decca
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94050
    2010 Doremi / Doremi Records 7936
    2010 MSR Classics 1361
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Classics & Jazz
    2010 Decca
    2010 Alpha / Alpha Productions 157
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Cambria 1174
    2009 Polyhymnia PH 0908
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Divine Art 21216
    2009 Dynamic 629
    2009 ECM B0013262-02
    2009 ECM / ECM New Series ECM 2001/02
    2009 Con Brio 28452
    2009 Erato / Virgin Classics 5099926729
    2009 Erato
    2008 ABC Classics 4766405
    2008 Sony Music Distribution 722697
    2008 Sony Classical Essential Classics 722695
    2008 Brilliant Classics 93668
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 001190702
    2007 Sony/Columbia 88697147592
    2007 Sony Classical Essential Classics 700814
    2007 Orfeo 742071
    2007 Document 231131
    2007 Eroica Distribution 32112
    2007 Decca 4758234
    2007 BBC Legends / BBC Music 42032
    2007 Cascade Records 2100
    2007 Eroica Distribution 3213
    2006 Brilliant 93102
    2006 Brilliant 99697
    2006 EMI Music Distribution 71457
    2006 NSS Music 4
    2006 Rca Red Seal 67891
    2006 Philips 4761156
    2006 Decca 000639402
    2006 Connoisseur Society 4270
    2006 Romeo Entertainment 7248/9
    2006 Eroica Distribution 3291
    2006 Philips 475 7947
    2006 Philips 4757497
    2005 Camerata Records 15042
    2005 Brilliant Classics 92217
    2005 Harmonia Mundi 901869
    2005 Sony Classical Essential Classics 518509
    2005 Naïve OP 30421
    2004 Virgin Classics 62379
    2004 Rca Red Seal 184593
    2004 Brilliant 92391
    2003 Archiv Produktion 000048502
    2003 ATMA Classique 22231
    2003 Warner Classics
    2002 Haenssler 94014
    2002 Urtext 54
    2002 Opus 111 30346
    2002 Sony Classical 87767
    2002 Sony Classical Essential Classics 87767
    2002 Symposium 1309
    2002 BIS 1313/4
    2001 Harmonia Mundi 907290
    2001 Ambroisie / Satirino 11
    2001 Dorian 93242
    2001 Orfeo 14002
    2001 Gmn.com 112
    2001 Virgin 545404
    2001 Centaur Records 2768
    2001 Nimbus 5673
    2000 Orfeo D'Or 6
    2000 Opus 111 2025/26
    2000 Arion 68503
    2000 Haenssler 92115
    2000 Mandala 4958/9
    2000 EMI Music Distribution 73700
    2000 Deutsche Grammophon 463604
    2000 Sony Music Distribution 60278
    2000 Plexa 516
    2000 Angel Records / Warner Classics 7243556975
    1999 Teldec 25705
    1999 Teldec 25704
    1999 MD&G (Dabringhaus & Grimm) / MDG MDG 61009162
    1999 L'Oiseau-Lyre 440217
    1999 Harmonia Mundi 2908078/83
    1999 Teldec 3984-25714-2
    1999 Nonesuch 79483
    1999 Chandos 618
    1999 EMI Music Distribution 67017
    1999 Music & Arts 947
    1999 Sony Classical 64226
    1999 Philips 4569762
    1999 Philips 462232
    1999 Philips 454987
    1999 Signum Classics / Signum UK 012
    1999 Lyrichord 8038
    1998 Arbiter ARBITER113
    1998 Naxos 8 554041
    1998 Philips 456700
    1997 VAI Audio 1086
    1997 Music & Arts CD976
    1997 Philips 456068
    1997 Ongaku 024108
    1997 Hyperion 67191
    1997 Deutsche Grammophon 453572
    1996 Virgin 561292-2
    1996 Haenssler 98109
    1996 Teldec 4509-97904-2
    1996 Nuova Era 172190
    1996 Decca 452279
    1996 VAI Audio 1131
    1995 Philips 442559
    1995 Labor Records 7006
    1995 Boston Skyline 132
    1995 Gallo 608
    1995 Simax 1086
    1994 DHM Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 77306
    1994 Sony Music Distribution 52597
    1994 Naxos 550692
    1994 VAI Audio 1040
    1993 Wildboar 9101
    1993 Centaur Records 2125
    1992 Opus 111 529116
    1992 BMG 60919
    1989 Erato 45345
    1985 Decca 4117322
    Labor Records
    Brilliant 93102-VOL2
    Brilliant 99702
    Arkay Records 6125
    Music & Arts 4976
    Musical Heritage Society 5290564
    Hallmark Recordings 350792
    Albany Music Distribution 008
    Archiv Produktion 415493
    Denon Records 7333
    Digital Concerto 704
    Brilliant 93102/28
    Brilliant Classics 93668/11
    Brilliant 92391/11
    Brilliant 99702/5
    Deutsche Schallplatten 1030
    CBS Records Masterworks 424022
    Sharon Mann 6781
    Concord 42021
    Salzburger Festspiele 6
    BBC Music Magazine 112
    Originals 828
    Harmonia Mundi 90114445
    Archiv Produktion 415493
    Cascade Records 2138
    Joel Bard
    Naim 64
    Stradivari 6071
    A.W. Promotions 2001
    Music & Arts 1070
    Denon Records 18031
    Susan W. Rose 110702
    Musical Heritage Society 1410084
    Archiv Produktion 000303002
    Hangar 21