Suite No. 4 in  E flat BWV 1010

Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach (b. 1685 - d. 1750)
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Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach (b. 1685 - d. 1750)

Performance date: 02/07/2017

Venue: St. Brendan’s Church

Composition Year: 1720

Duration: 00:22:43

Recording Engineer: Richard McCullough, RTÉ lyric fm

Instrumentation: vc

Instrumentation Category:Solo

Artists: Pieter Wiespelwey - [cello]

Fourth Suite is in the key of E flat, a key associated with power and
strength in the Baroque and Classical periods. It is the key of three
out of four of Mozart’s horn concerti, Bach’s Cantata No. 140 and
Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony. The bold gestures of the prelude conform
to this description, although converse with most cellists and they
will not delay in telling you of the challenge the key presents for
the performer. The key lies awkwardly on the instrument and it is
tricky to enunciate the opening fantasy. The Fourth Suite allemande

smoothly in a serene manner from its confident opening to the closing
cadence. It is followed by a bouncy courante, which like in the First
Suite is in an Italian Style. The courante is often considered a
dance of courtship and it is easy to imagine a pair of young lovers
frolicking along to the melodic phrases of this movement. The
sarabande; a thoughtful, calm creation, is reminiscent of the opening
progression of the prelude and its melodic material unfolds not from
new gestures, but from ones we have already heard before. The bourées
offer some light hearted contrast – the Bourée we know today is
quite refined despite deriving from a French peasant dance in which
the men moved their arms in a flapping gesture. The first of Fourth
Suite bourées is the longest of all the Cello Suites optional dance
movements and has a lively, virtuosic character. In contrast, its
partner, the second bourée is conveniently the shortest optional
movement and also one of the shortest movements in all Baroque
instrumental literature. It is unusual in that it has fidelity to the
tonic key, not one accidental or hint at chromatic movement wavers
outside the key of E flat major. The concluding Gigue of the suite is
the most true to form Italian Gigue of the six suites, a rumbustious
dance that would stir even the most arthritic of toes.