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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'J. S. Bach: The Six Keyboard Partitas'
Artist - Charles Owen

For those not in the classical know, The Six Keyboard Partitas, BWV 825–830, are a set of six harpsichord suites written by Johann Sebastian Bach, published from 1726 to 1730 as Clavier-Übung I, and the first of his works to be published under his direction. They were, however, among the last of his keyboard suites to be composed, the others being the six English Suites, BWV 806-811 and the six French Suites, BWV 812-817.

In keeping with a nineteenth-century naming tradition that labelled Bach's first set of Suites English and the second French, the Partitas are sometimes referred to as the German Suites. This title, however, is a publishing convenience; there is nothing particularly German about the Partitas.

In comparison with the two earlier sets of suites, the Partitas are by far the most free-ranging in terms of structure. Unlike the English Suites, for example, wherein each opens with a strict prelude, the Partitas feature a number of different opening styles including an ornamental Overture and a Toccata.

OK, history lesson now over, here on J. S. Bach: The Six Keyboard Partitas (a 2CD set, out now thru AVIE Records), Pianist Charles Owen takes it upon himself to breathe new life into these Partitas' - and, it has to be said, the man recognized as one of the finest British pianists of his generation undertakes a task that he also shines throughout on.

With an extensive series of performances and recordings to his name, Owen is one of those rare pianists who plays all he undertakes in a manner that denotes his passion to his craft in stunning gravitas. “I have only once in my life listened to all six Partitas played on a single evening, [and] the sense of a journey, of being on a pilgrimage, was extraordinary.” So says pianist Charles Owen regarding this set of compositions by J. S. Bach that are amongst the greatest literature for the keyboard.

CD 1 (70.02)
Partita No. 1 in B-Flat Major, BWV 825 (18.42)
1. I. Praeludium (1.57)
2. II. Allemande (3.17)
3. III. Corrente (2.55)
4. IV. Sarabande (5.26)
5. V. Menuets I & II (2.55)
6. VI. Gigue (2.14)

Partita No. 2 in C Minor, BWV 826 (19.48)
7. I. Sinfonia (4.34)
8. II. Allemande (4.22)
9. III. Courante (2.21)
10. IV. Sarabande (3.22)
11. V. Rondeaux (1.33)
12. VI. Capriccio (3.36)

Partita No. 4 in D Major, BWV 828 (30.51)
13. I. Ouverture (5.44)
14. II. Allemande (8.36)
15. III. Courante (3.14)
16. IV. Aria (2.11)
17. V. Sarabande (5.35)
18. VI. Menuet (1.33)
19. VII. Gigue (3.58)

CD 2 (72.58)
Partita No. 3 in A Minor, BWV 827 (19.47)
1. I. Fantasia (1.57)
2. II. Allemande (3.35)
3. III. Corrente (2.57)
4. IV. Sarabande (4.12)
5. V. Burlesca (2.26)
6. VI. Scherzo (1.15)
7. VII. Gigue (3.25)

Partita No. 5 in G major, BWV 829 (20.13)
8. I. Praeambulum (2.22)
9. II. Allemande (4.05)
10. III. Corrente (1.39)
11. IV. Sarabande (4.24)
12. V. Tempo di Minuetto (1.53)
13. VI. Passepied (1.43)
14. VII. Gigue (4.07)

Partita No. 6 in E Minor, BWV 830 (32.53)
15. I. Toccata (7.39)
16. II. Allemande (3.41)
17. III. Corrente (4.39)
18. IV. Air (1.21)
19. V. Sarabande (7.11)
20. VI. Tempo di Gavotta (2.13)
21. VII. Gigue (6.09)