Johann Sebastian Bach: Six Partitas

András Schiff

Following last year’s completion of his highly-praised Beethoven cycle András Schiff returns to Bach with a superb interpretation of the six “Partitas”, recorded live in September 2007 at Neumarkt Reitstadl one of the best piano music venues in Eurpoe. The cycle, which in 1731 was the first group of works to be published by Bach himself, represents a unique stylistic synthesis of the suite form with a particular emphasis on most varied and imaginative opening movements. In his 1802 biography of Bach, Nikolaus Forkel famously wrote that “such splendid compositions for the clavier had not been seen or heard before… so brilliant, harmonious, expressive and constantly novel are they.” Compared to his London studio recording of 1983 this second rendering on disc demonstrates Schiff’s stylistic development towards more freedom, sonic depth and sheer pleasure of phrasing. The rather unorthodox sequence of partitas – 5 – 3 – 1 – 2 – 4 – 6 – draws an ascending line of keys leading from G major to e minor.

Featured Artists Recorded

September 2007, Historischer Reitstadel, Neumarkt

Original Release Date

28.08.2009

  • CD 1
  • Partita V in G major, BWV 829
    (Johann Sebastian Bach)
  • 1Praeambulum02:11
  • 2Allemande04:16
  • 3Corrente01:34
  • 4Sarabande04:07
  • 5Tempo di Minuetta02:23
  • 6Passepied01:30
  • 7Gigue03:45
  • Partita III in a minor, BWV 827
    (Johann Sebastian Bach)
  • 8Fantasia01:50
  • 9Allemande02:47
  • 10Corrente02:40
  • 11Sarabande03:14
  • 12Burlesca02:00
  • 13Scherzo00:59
  • 14Gigue02:55
  • Partita I in B-flat major, BWV 825
    (Johann Sebastian Bach)
  • 15Praeludium01:52
  • 16Allemande03:09
  • 17Corrente02:42
  • 18Sarabande04:25
  • 19Menuet I01:15
  • 20Menuet II01:17
  • 21Gigue02:10
  • Partita II in c minor, BWV 826
    (Johann Sebastian Bach)
  • 22Sinfonia04:17
  • 23Allemande04:31
  • 24Courante02:05
  • 25Sarabande03:01
  • 26Rondeau01:27
  • 27Capriccio03:18
  • CD 2
  • Partita IV in D major, BWV 828
    (Johann Sebastian Bach)
  • 1Ouverture05:50
  • 2Allemande07:56
  • 3Courante03:19
  • 4Aria02:04
  • 5Sarabande05:55
  • 6Menuet01:20
  • 7Gigue03:34
  • Partita VI in e minor, BWV 830
    (Johann Sebastian Bach)
  • 8Toccata07:19
  • 9Allemanda03:40
  • 10Corrente04:47
  • 11Air01:41
  • 12Sarabande05:33
  • 13Tempo di Gavotta01:57
  • 14Gigue05:40


Following last year's completion of his highly-praised Beethoven cycle András Schiff returns to Bach with a superb interpretation of the six "Partitas". It was recorded live in September 2007 at Neumarkt Reitstadl, one of the best piano music venues in Europe. The cycle, which in 1731 was the first group of works to be published by Bach himself, represents a unique stylistic synthesis of the suite form with a particular emphasis on most varied and imaginative opening movements. In his 1802 biography of Bach, Nikolaus Forkel famously wrote that "such splendid compositions for the clavier had not been seen or heard before… so brilliant, harmonious, expressive and constantly novel are they."

Although his earlier Bach recordings are still available, this is Schiff’s new Bach: Compared to his London studio version of 1983 this second rendering of the Partitas on disc demonstrates Schiff's stylistic development towards more freedom, personal expression and sheer pleasure of phrasing. His playing on stage combines spontaneity and intellectual depth, ravishing sound with superb technical finish. In his personal note for the present recording Schiff writes: "Conducting the St. Matthew Passion and the B-minor Mass several times were experiences that have left an indelible mark on my piano performances: we frequently find dance movements in Bach's church music, and his instrumental works were often inspired by his sacred compositions."

The pianist’s rather unorthodox sequence of Partitas – 5 - 3 - 1 - 2 - 4 - 6 – draws an ascending line of keys leading from G major to e minor. It reflects a long experience with the pieces on stage. According to Schiff the Clavierübung “is designed to be at once enyclopaedic, scholarly and instructive. Nonetheless, the six partitas form an ideal, if long, concert program: Bach’s music succeeds over and over again in forging an intimate bond between performer and audience.”
YEAR DATE VENUE LOCATION
2024 May 28 Laeiszhalle Hamburg, Germany
2024 May 30 Teatro Donizetti Bergamo, Italy
2024 June 01 Teatro Communale Ferrara, Italy
2024 June 06 Wigmore Hall London, United Kingdom
2024 June 08 Wigmore Hall London, United Kingdom
2024 June 11 Musikverein Vienna, Austria
2024 June 26 Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Germany
2024 June 30 Château du Clos de Vougeot Burgund, France
2024 July 04 Palacio Carlos V Granada, Spain
2024 July 11 Kunstpalast Düsseldorf, Germany
2024 July 16 Pfarrkirche Lockenhaus, Austria
2024 July 23 Église de Verbier station Verbier, Switzerland
2024 July 25 Église de Verbier station Verbier, Switzerland
2024 July 27 Menuhin Festival- Kirche Saanen Gstaad, Switzerland
2025 May 18 Herkulessaal Munich, Germany
2025 May 19 Tonhalle Zurich, Switzerland