Bach: English Suites (complete)

The title "English Suites" is generally considered to derive from the fact that they are supposed to have been written by Bach for an English nobleman. This information is backed solely by the remark "Fait pour les Anglois" on the title page of the A major Suite on of the sources. However, if Bach had really composed the suites 'to order' more details of the commission would probably have survived - as in the case of the Goldberg Variations. It is in fact more probable that amongst Bach's pupils and friends the Suites became known as "English" to differentiate them from the shorter French Suites and perhaps because they vaguely followed some musical styles from England. Indeed their design does show a resemblance to Handel's Suites, published in London. Furthermore, E. Dannenreuther, author of Musical Ornamentation Vol.1 (1893) indicated just how much the "English Suites" resemble those of Six Suites de Clevcin by Ch, Dieupart - who was active in London from 1707 to his death. In fact, Bach knew the Suites of Dieupart, and actually copied them with his own hand.

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