Richard Egarr

Bach: The English Suites

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AllMusic Review by

Despite having a reputation for didacticism, Richard Egarr is an engaging performer of Baroque music whose lucid playing and thoughtful interpretations are always worth hearing. His 2013 Harmonia Mundi double-CD of J.S. Bach’s six English Suites, played on harpsichord, offers insights into the conventions of the period’s keyboard styles, though whether these charming pieces can be defined as English or not remains unresolved. Egarr’s avowed fondness for the English Suites and other early Bach compositions stems from the physical pleasure they bring, as well as their elements of fantasy and invention. In these sets of preludes and dances, Bach’s lively imagination is on full display in the variety of the harpsichord’s textures, tone colors, and ornamentation. Egarr’s notes go into considerable detail about the development of Bach’s ideas and the factors that unify the suites as a cycle. However, the listener may choose to discover such elements in the flow of the music, which is perhaps even more enjoyable than the analysis would be to a theoretician, because Egarr’s polished technique and unfailing elegance make this a delightful album.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
English Suite No. 1 in A major, BWV 806
1 2:30
2 5:19
3 1:43
4 4:15
5 3:39
6 2:06
7 2:44
8 3:01
English Suite No. 2 in A minor, BWV 807
9 5:09
10 3:54
11 2:01
12 4:16
13 2:26
14 2:26
15 2:49
English Suite No. 3 in G minor, BWV 808
16 3:32
17 3:43
18 2:44
19 4:30
20 1:34
21 1:39
22 3:25
blue highlight denotes track pick