Bach-Schumann-Camwell: Suite No. 1 BWV 1007, for alto saxophone and piano
Code: JP4104 ISMN: 979-0-3019-0621-7
J.S. Bach's "Suite No. 1" BWV 1007 was originally written for solo cello. Robert Schumann (1810-1856) had spent much time studying the music of Bach beginning in 1831, analyzing the
Well Tempered Clavier and other organ works during his musical schooling in Germany. After hearing Mendelssohn's accompaniments to Bach's "Chaconne" as an encore in
a violin concert, Schumann began work himself to create piano accompaniments to the solo (string) works of Bach. The accompaniments for the Sonatas and Partitas were written from December 30, 1852
through February 5, 1853. Schumann himself played through them with the violinist Ruppert Becker (1830-87) on January 13 and February 13, 1853, with publication occuring in the Spring of 1854.
Shortly after finishing his arrangements of the violin solos, Schumann began work on the cello suites on March 19, 1853, completing the set in a similarly prodigious manner of just twenty-two
days on April 10.
The texture of Schumann's accompaniment is quite sparse, with no attempt to compete with the foreground elements in Bach's cello part. The chords generally coincide with the implied harmonic
rhythm in Bach's source material, though there are many interesting examples of harmonic reimagination, with one of many examples being in the very first bar, second chord, of the Prelude. In
general, Schumann adopted an approach that minimizes interference with the original music and seeks to support the prime material, instead of creating a secondary line that distracts the
listener from the source.
This new edition by Dave Camwell was done to provide stylistically-accurate articulation as well as optional ornamentation. Ornaments are a very important part of Baroque music, typically
added the second time of a repeated section, or more generally throughout a movement. Camwell has included a suggested ornamentation, but performers are free to devise wholly new, altered
or selected ornaments from the ones provided.
The technical demands for the saxophonist are advanced. There are 6 movements with a total duration of approximately 18 minutes. Samples from each movement are shown below.
The music may be performed unaccompanied, as in the original by Bach, or with the Schumann piano accompaniment.