Johann Sebastian Bach, 1715.
English Suite No.2 in A minor, BWV 807 - V. Bourrée.
English Suite No.2 in A minor, BWV 807 - VI. Bourree II - Bourrée I da Capo.

Bach's English Suite No. 2 is a wonderful dance. It is both powerful and delicate, fast and slow, and at all times poetic and articulate. The Bourrées are representative of the powerful and fast elements of the suite. The harmoniously accompanying counterpoint, which has become a trademark of Bach, marvelously develops and reveals itself as the segments progress. It helps propel this dance at a furious pace without losing control and maintaining a graceful presence.

The two recordings I have selected below are the two best renditions currently available. Glenn Gould's is the clear favorite. The power and clarity which he plays is unrivaled. Martha Argerich, however, is no slouch and I happen to like her rendition of the Bourrées better than that of Gould. She provides a slightly more poetic interpretation than Gould and plays the piece with equal strength. Fortunately, I was able to see Argerich perform the two Bourrées as an encore fairly recently and it is nothing short of dazzling.

Selected recordings recommended for purchasing:
Glenn Gould version (complete set of Six English Suites) available here.
Martha Argerich version (English Suite No. 2 only) available here.

Artwork by: Wilhelm Gause // Der Hofball


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