Bach’s French Suites are, in general, more intimate and smaller in scale than Bach’s other suite collections for keyboard. The movements are generally shorter and the keyboard range smaller than is required in his later pieces. This apparent economy, however, does not lessen the quality of the French Suites. They are less overtly showy, perhaps, but nevertheless imbued with spirit and feeling, grace and lyricism, and on occasion, brilliance as well. Their more intimate nature conceals very considerable challenges for the performer.
David Cates, who plays a harpsichord made by Owen Daly in 1999, after an instrument by Antoine Vaudry built in 1981, is rapidly becoming recognized as one today’s most unique and important artists performing on the harpsichord. His previous recordings of solo works by Froberger and J.S. Bach have met with widespread critical acclaim.
The 2002 Classical Music Listener’s Companion calls him one of the 20 most important harpsichordists recording today, “an unusual interpreter” and an “outstanding talent”.
J.S. BACH: THE FRENCH SUITES, BWV 812-817, selected Preludes, BWV 923, 999, 815a, and three Preludes from the Well-Tempered Clavier, performed by David Cates, harpsichord. CD1 49:38; CD2 45:22. (DDD) UPC #0-17685-11242-3
“a fine recital by a highly gifted artist, ideally suited to almost all the music chosen. I shall particularly prize the disc for the Liadov and Rebikov, and the Bortkiewicz for the fine pianism with which it is presented. A full and rich recording brings added value, as do the informative notes by Farhan Malik”.
– Christopher Howell
Disc 1 Sound Clips (MP3):
Disc 2 Sound Clips (MP3):