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Clavier Übung II (Harpsichord)

The Clavier Übung II is specified to be performed on a two manual Harpsichord but is today usually played on the piano.
Bach contrasted a work in Italian style, the famous Italian Concerto with a work in French style, a suite which is commonly known as the French Overture. The original names of these works are Concerto nach Italienischen Gusto and Overture nach Französicher Art.


Italian Concerto - BWV.971

The Italian concerto consists out of three movements:

I. Without tempo indication
II. Andante
III. Presto

Though a concerto relies upon the contrasting roles of different groups of instruments in an ensemble, Bach imitates this effect by creating contrasts using a two-manual harpsichord throughout the piece. In fact, along with the Overture in the French style and some of the Goldberg Variations, this is one of the few works by Bach which specifically require a 2-manual harpsichord but the piece is today also transcribed to fit the piano

The French Overture had previously been written down in C minor; for the publication of 1735 Bach transposed it to B minor and made slight changes to the musical text, for example in the rhythms of the first movement. The reason for the transposition is not known: one speculation is that the aim was to increase the contrast between the two works. F major is a "flat" key and B minor is a "sharp" key, and the keynotes are related by a tritone, which was one of the most distant modulations. Another possible motivation is that out of the eight German note names A, B (B flat), C, D, E, F, G, H (B natural), six had already been used as keynotes in the Partitas, thus only F and H remained.



Complete recording by Alfonso Bertazzi

I.
BWV 971, Movement 1
4:03
II.
BWV 971, Movement 2 Andante
4:42
III.
BWV 971, Movement 3 Presto
3:37





Complete recording by Mark Hensley

I.
BWV 971, Movement 1
4:23
II.
BWV 971, Movement 2 Andante
5:34
III.
BWV 971 Movement 3 Presto
3:56




Complete recording by Adrienne McKinney

I.
BVW.971, Movement 1
3:55
II.
BWV.971, Movement 2 Andante
5:14
III.
BWV.971, Movement 3 Presto
3:56



Complete recording by Andreas Pfaul

I.
BVW.971, Movement 1
4:21
II.
BWV.971, Movement 2 Andante
6:05
III.
BWV.971, Movement 3 Presto
3:55




Complete recording by John Robson

I.
BWV.971, Movement 1
3:49
II.
BWV.971, Movement 2 Andante
5:48
III.
BWV.971, Movement 3 Presto
3:41



Complete recording by Nuccio Trotta


I.
BWV.971, Movement 1
4:10
II.
BWV.971, Movement 2 Andante
5:35
III.
BWV.971, Movement 3 Presto
3:34



II.
BWV.971, Movement 2 Andante
4:49
Alianello, M.