BWV 823

All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society

Suite in F minor

BWV 823 performed by Ketil Haugsand
at home in Cologne, Germany

"F minor is the key of death, but Bach also offers consolation."

Incomplete but perfect

Bach may have mastered the French style even better than the French themselves.

There is only one manuscript of this Suite in F minor, written by Bach’s pupil Johann Peter Kellner. The surviving suite is probably incomplete, as it consists of just three movements (Prelude, Sarabande and Gigue) instead of the usual six or seven. However, Kellner does write ‘fine’ at the end, so maybe he presumed - or knew - that Bach regarded the work as complete. The Norwegian harpsichordist Ketil Haugsand, who recorded the suite for All of Bach, also thinks this is plausible.

Based on some awkward technical moments and a few singularities of form, there are also occasional doubts about Bach’s authorship. According to Haugsand, however, his style is clearly recognisable. He believes it to be an early work that shows, in particular, how well Bach could compose in the French style - “maybe even better than the French themselves”. The Dutch harpsichordist and musicologist Pieter Dirksen, on the other hand, has suggested that the work was composed at a later date and was originally intended for lute. “It may not have been a very important work for Bach himself”, says Haugsand, “but it is really beautiful; especially the melancholy Sarabande”.


Suite in F minor

keyboard work



Cast & Crew

Release date 1 June 2018
Recording date 28 February 2017
Location Cologne, Germany
Harpsichordist Ketil Haugsand
Harpsichord Martin Skowroneck, Bremen, 1985
Director and interview Jan Van den Bossche
Music recording, edit and mix Guido Tichelman
Camera and edit performance Gijs Besseling
Edit interview Ane C. Ose
Producer Jessie Verbrugh

Vocal Texts




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