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Bach: Orchestral Suites For A Young Prince / Huggett, Ensemble Sonnerie, Et Al


Release Date: 07/14/2009 
Label:  Avie   Catalog #: 2171   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Monica HuggettGonzalo Ruiz
Conductor:  Monica Huggett
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Sonnerie
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



BACH Orchestral Suites: No. 1; No. 2 (Reconstr. Ruiz); No. 3; No. 4 Monica Huggett (vn); dir; Gonzalo X. Ruiz (ob); Ens Sonnerie (period instruments) AVIE 2171 (73:45)


Many years ago, Christopher Hogwood, addressing a rapt Gotham audience, took us down to the nitty-gritty of musicology. “‘Attributed to’,” he explained, “means ‘almost certainly not by’.” Some fine morning, one suspects, we will awaken to learn that nothing in the standard repertoire Read more was actually written by the composer of record, or, if it was, it was not in the form in which it has come down to us. The latest subjects of scrutiny to come to light are the orchestral suites of Bach. Do not be alarmed; all were composed by Johann Sebastian. But the second, it seems, was not originally intended for the flute, and the glorious trumpets in the third and fourth were afterthoughts. The First Orchestral Suite, as we know it, is apparently what Bach intended it to be. Whether this revelation comes as a disappointment to the good folks at Avie is not for us to know, but Monica Huggett and Ensemble Sonnerie have given it to us along with reconstructions of “original versions” of the other three. Reworking the Third and Fourth was relatively straightforward. The trumpets and timpani, added by Carl Philippe Emanuel to the Third and by Sebastian himself (for Cantata 110) to the Fourth, were silenced, leaving in place a more typical strings-and-oboes ensemble.


The Second Suite was more problematical. It’s been determined that the original score, now lost, was transposed from A Minor to the current B Minor. But in A Minor, the solo part is too low for the flute. Consequently, it was first assumed that the original solo instrument was a violin. Taking up the challenge, Gonzalo Ruiz made the compelling observation that the solo part in A Minor, awkward for the violin, not only falls comfortably within the oboe range, but is also highly compatible with oboe fingering. He theorizes that the transposed flute version was made for commercial reasons (much like Mozart’s Flute Concerto, K 314). Ruiz is, of course, an accomplished practitioner of the ill wind, and reclaiming this suite for his instrument could help to explain how it is that Bach, who wrote so often and so exquisitely for it, did not leave any major solo works for the oboe. In creating his reconstruction Ruiz also notes that the title of the final movement—the popular, light-hearted “Badinerie” of the flute version—is actually “Battinerie”—battle music—in the original score, and thus more appropriate for the oboe. Concern about the Baroque oboe’s ability to handle the technical challenges of score are easily put to rest by Ruiz’s virtuoso reading, a most convincing and satisfying new look at an old favorite.


The Third and Fourth Suites may take a little more getting used to. The trumpets have always (since they were added, that is) given these works a special, ennobling gravitas that many listeners, including this one, will be reluctant to relinquish. Without them, however, one is more cognizant of the music’s origins in the dance, which yield their own rewards. The performances of all the suites, including the First, are first-rate. Don’t give away your recordings of the traditional version of the suites (Koopman’s, Kuijken’s, Gardiner’s, to name a few), but Huggett’s new recording has much more to offer than its curiosity value.


FANFARE: George Chien
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Works on This Recording

1.
Suite for Orchestra no 3 in D major, BWV 1068 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Monica Huggett (Violin)
Conductor:  Monica Huggett
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Sonnerie
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1729-1731; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 17 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. 
2.
Suite for Orchestra no 4 in D major, BWV 1069 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Monica Huggett (Violin)
Conductor:  Monica Huggett
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Sonnerie
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1729-1731; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 16 Minutes 51 Secs. 
3.
Suite for Orchestra no 1 in C major, BWV 1066 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Monica Huggett (Violin)
Conductor:  Monica Huggett
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Sonnerie
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1717-1723; Cöthen, Germany 
4.
Suite for Orchestra no 2 in B minor, BWV 1067 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Monica Huggett (Violin), Gonzalo Ruiz (Oboe)
Conductor:  Monica Huggett
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Sonnerie
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1738-1739; Leipzig, Germany 

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