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This week on Arizona Encore, celebrate Bach’s 338th birthday with us!

Johann Sebastian Bach’s “French Suites” were left unpublished at the time of the composer’s death, but the first five were included in his 1722 “Little Notebook for Anna Magdelana,” one of several notebooks that acted as one part family journal and another part music-instruction guide.

Each suite contains four dance movements that Bach standardized for the genre: the Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, and Gigue, each of these dances drawing inspiration from the musical style of a specific country. That being said, the reason behind these suites being designated “French,” (and also the designation of “English” for a separate set of suites), is a bit of a mystery; however, the nickname  most definitely did not come from the composer, and some speculate that it was simply named “French” because – to listeners’ ears at that time – it sounded stylistically like French music.

We’ll hear the French Suite No. 5 on this Arizona Encore episode as part of an All-Bach program that also includes solo violin works like the Chaconne from the Partita No. 2, and arrangements of some of Bach’s sacred works.

Featuring performances by Timothy Chooi, violin; Martin James Bartlett, piano; Benjamin Verdery, guitar; Ying Li, piano; Nikki Chooi, violin

Bach - Sonata in A Minor, No. 2, BWV 1003 - Timothy Chooi, violin
I. Andante
II. Allegro
Bach - Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring - Martin James Bartlett, piano
Bach - Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 639 - Martin James Bartlett, piano
Bach - Cello Suite No. 6, BWV 1012 - Prélude - Benjamin Verdery, guitar
Bach - Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit, BWV 106 - Benjamin Verdery, guitar
Bach - Prelude, Fugue, and Allegro, BWV 998 - Benjamin Verdery, guitar
III. Allegro
Bach - French Suite No. 5 in G Major, BWV 816 - Ying Li, piano
I. Allemande
II. Courante
III. Sarabande
IV. Gavotte
V. Loure
VI. Gigue
Bach - Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004 - Nikki Chooi, violin
V. Chaconne

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