Suite No. 5 in C minor, BWV 1011

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

Performance date: 03/07/2019

Venue: St. Brendan’s Church

Composition Year: ca. 1720

Duration: 00:20:38

Recording Engineer: Gar Duffy, RTÉ

Instrumentation: vc

Instrumentation Category:Solo

Artists: Emmanuelle Bertrand - [cello]

One feels a colossus in chains, a giant endeavouring
to adjust his powers to the limitations of his medium of expression.
Leopold Godowsky


This Suite is unique in that Bach uses scordatura for
the only time in his entire oeuvre, the highest string being tuned down from A
to G.
It is also worth noting the unique
position the Suite holds in that it was also transcribed by the composer for
The use of scordatura
was not unusual at the time, Biber’s Mystery
from fifty years earlier being the most spectacular example. The Prélude
of this Suite is in C minor, a key normally associated with high seriousness in
works such as St. Matthews’ Passion. It is written in the form of Prélude
and Fugue with no break between the


Allemande is more serious in
character and its powerful dotted rhythms emphasising the movement’s resolute
and vigorous character. The Courante
is the only one in all the Suites representative of the elegant and complex
French-style Courante, more stately
than its Italian version. The Sarabande is a short movement, consisting of only
108 notes from beginning to end. It has a dark, grave beauty presenting an
other-worldly picture described by Rostropovich as being so unusual that it resembles contemporary music. Of all the dances
that have their origins in country dances, the Gavotte, with its moderately fast tempo and duple meter, is the one
that has most maintained its original characteristics. The Gigue, like the Courante,
is a clear example of the French style of Gigue. It is filled with subtle
rhythmic nuances that never seem to settle into regularity, therefore keeping
performers and listeners continuously on the edge of their