All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society

Orchestral suite No. 1 in C major

BWV 1066 performed by the Netherlands Bach Society conducted by Shunske Sato
TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht

In this performance Shunske Sato is not leading from the front, but rather from the middle of the orchestra. Why?

Bach à la française

Even after the death of Louis the Fourteenth, every prince dreamed once in a while of a court like that of the Sun King. And what could be more fitting for such a court than a French Overture?

Very little instrumental music by Bach has survived. And we know virtually nothing about when, why or for whom the surviving music was written. The same applies to this suite, which is in the style and atmosphere of the dance music written by Lully at the court of Louis the Fourteenth: a series of stylised dances. Nowadays, we call this a suite, but at the time it was known as an Overture, or opening piece. As a tribute to the king, such a succession of dances began with a stately opening that had a remarkably staccato rhythm – to which the king could make his entrance – followed by a somewhat faster, fugal middle section. The instrumentation of Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 1 is French as well, with oboes and a bassoon doubling the string parts.

This suite could well have been composed in Bach’s time as Kapellmeister in Köthen, where Prince Leopold must occasionally have dreamed of a court in the style of the Sun King. But this dance music was also well suited to the concerts of the Collegium Musicum in Leipzig.
Looking at the dances he chose, Bach took inspiration not only from France, but also from Italy for this suite. The order is fairly standard and sometimes a bit old-fashioned, with dances that are repeated in pairs. The Gavotte, Minuet and Passepied are typically French. The Courante was popular in both France and Italy, and the Forlane originated in Italy but also became fashionable at the French court. In the end, Bach put his own mark on everything. The oboes and bassoon double the strings, but sometimes go their own way too, thus creating a sort of concerto grosso in disguise.


Overture in C major

Suite No. 1

orchestral work (suite)

between 1717 and 1725

Köthen? Leipzig?

Cast & Crew

release date 6 March 2015
recording date 30 November 2014
Location TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht
Violin 1 Shunske Sato (direction), Annabelle Ferdinand, Lucia Giraudo
violin 2 Anneke van Haaften (also viola), Paulien Kostense, Hanneke Wierenga
viola Bernadette Verhagen, Jan Willem Vis, Femke Huizinga
Cello Lucia Swarts, Barbara Kernig
double bass Joshua Cheatham
oboe Martin Stadler, Yongcheon Shin
bassoon Benny Aghassi
harpsichord Siebe Henstra
CONCERT production Marco Meijdam, Imke Deters
Producer Zoë de Wilde, Frank van der Weij
Film director Lucas van Woerkum
CAMERA Ruben van den Broeke, Diderik Evers, Sal Kroonenberg
GAFFER Victor Jas
FILM EDITORS Lucas van Woerkum, Frank van der Weij
Score reader Stijn Berkouwer
MUSIC RECORDING ASSISTANTS Gilius Kreiken, Jaap van Stenis, Bobby Verbakel, Jaap Firet
CAMERA ASSISTaNT Izak de Dreu, Indy Hamid
MUSIC EDIT AND MIX Leo de Klerk, Frank van der Weij
Colorist Rachel Stone
interview Onno van Ameijde
Acknowledgements Bert Begeman

Vocal Texts




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