The epithet “English Suites” – as with the “French Suites” – did not originate with Bach himself. In contrast to the six intimate French Suites, Bach’s English Suites adopt a grander tone, each one opening with a prelude in concertante style. Two of the sarabandes survive in additional versions that feature ornamentation by Bach himself; an impressive testimony to his intended virtuosic and opulent harpsichord style in these pieces.
Despite the lack of autograph sources, the musical text of these works has survived extraordinarily well and reliably thanks to several contemporary manuscript copies. For this revised Urtext edition Ullrich Scheideler has undertaken an exemplary investigation of authentic variants, especially in the ornamentation. All are documented here, and made directly accessible to the player in the musical text itself. This new edition also has another Bach specialist on board: Ekaterina Derzhavina, whose carefully-devised fingerings will guide players securely through the cosmos of Bach’s English Suites.