Partitas for Harpsichord, BWV 825-830

Partitas for Harpsichord, BWV 825-830


Artist: Jory Vinikour

Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach

Format: 3 CDs


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The six partitas for harpsichord by Johann Sebastian Bach are among the greatest and most inspired works of all keyboard literature. Although they are the first works that Bach decided to publish, they represent the composer's genius at the height of his maturity, matched only by the Goldberg Variations. Performed on a stunning copy of a North German instrument of Bach's time, rich and expressive, but also clear and incisive, built by Tom and Barbara Wolf, each of the partitas is a microcosm, ranging from the poetic and pastoral (no. 1, in B flat Major), to the epic and tragic (no. 6, in e minor). Bach shows himself to be playful, profound, meditative, theatrical, virtuoso—and always the greatest composer of counterpoint of all time. 

The six partitas represent the apotheosis not only of Bach's unique keyboard language, and the expressive possibilities of the harpsichord, but in the inherent range of colors and contrasts within the confines of a suite. 

To a greater extent than in the other sets of suites, each of the six partitas seems to establish its own distinct character, which is developed throughout the suite. As with the English Suites, each of the partitas opens with a prélude. However, these movements are widely varied in form as well as in mood. Although each of the the six partitas contains the standard suite movements (apart from the c minor partita, which foregoes the customary gigue in favor of a Capriccio), these movements show the most striking variety. 

His debut recording for Sono Luminus, The Complete Harpsichord Works of Jean-Philippe Rameau (DSL-92154), was nominated for a GRAMMY® award, in the category of Best Classical Solo Instrumental Recording in 2013. His follow-up recording, Toccatas: Modern American Music for Harpsichord received the same honor two years later.

Track List


Partita No. 1 in B-flat major, BWV 825

Partita No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826

Partita No. 3 in A minor, BWV 827

Partita No. 4 in D major, BWV 828


Partita No. 5 in G major, BWV 829

Partita No. 6 in E minor, BWV 830

Disc 1 time: 41:14
Disc 2 time: 54:39
Disc 3 time: 57:41
Release date: November 18, 2016
UPC: 053479220929

Quotes & Reviews

These are straightforward, uncluttered, direct performances that…deliver the notes earnestly and sincerely.

Patrick Rucker, Gramophone

Harpsichordist Jory Vinikour's traversal of the Partitas, on the Sono Luminus label, is marked by an understanding of articulation, structure and harmonic progression that never succumbs to pedantry but, rather, is alive to the rhythmic subtlety and coloristic variety of these suites of baroque dances.

John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

While some harpsichordists focus on solo careers and others make their marks performing with orchestras and opera companies, the Chicago-based dynamo does all that and more. Indeed, it is safe to say that very few, if any other, of today’s top harpsichordists can match the whirlwind, all-encompassing nature of his career… 

Kyle MacMillan, Early Music America

The musical distinction gracing Jory Vinikour’s Bach Partitas should come as no surprise to listeners familiar with this sensitive and cultivated musician.

Vinikour’s Partitas add up to a serious and major achievement by a serious and major artist.

Jed Distler, ClassicsToday

In his playing of the Partitas, the music sighs and smiles, jokes and jostles, ponders and prays, but the supreme marvel of this recording is that every sentiment that emanates from these performances comes directly from Bach’s scores.

Joseph Newsome, Voix des Arts

Vinikour knows this territory well, using every technical and interpretive device to maximum effect. He knows how far to push the limits of free Baroque forms as well as complying with the rigours of Bach’s fugal treatments.

Alex Baran, The Whole Note

Boldly individual musicianship makes harpsichordist Jory Vinikour’s new recording of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Six Partitas an uncommonly rewarding experience—thought-provoking and gratifying at the same time.

Mark Kanny, Early Music America

Performance ★★★★ Recording ★★★★

In the A minor Partita he follows a gutsy ‘Brulesca’ with a Scherzo given a thoroughly muscular workout, before ripping through the Gigue with gusto. An utterly absorbing set that discloses something new at each encounter.

Paul Riley, BBC Music Magazine

This harpsichordist allows the melody lines to flutter and flow, to frolic and to dance, even when the polyphony is heavier. During Bach's time, the success of the partitas was, incidentally, quite limited, due to their technical difficulty. With Jory Vinikour, this difficulty is forgotten.

Hans-Jürgen Schaal, Kult Komplott

Jory Vinikour plays the whole, two-and-one-half hour cycle on a two-manual harpsichord. Even if there are few sonic possibilities on this plucked-string instrument, nothing is lacking in order to bring these large-scale work to their full glory.

Oliver Fraenzke, The New Listener

In many movements he takes a fresh look at the music and its notation, often coming up with very imaginative ways to approach them so as to give the pieces more personality and expressive range than we are accustomed to…

The Allemandes from Partitas 1, 2, and 4 are perfect—I’ve heard none better and can imagine none better.

Rob Haskins, American Record Guide (March/April 2017)

These performances of J.S. Bach’s six partitas are brilliant, honoring fully the inventiveness and expressiveness of the works. Vinikour’s playing is rhythmically alert: the courantes and gigues possess a joyously pressing quality, and the slow pieces have a solid metrical tread as well that highlights their structural perfection.

Andrew Quint, The Absolute Sound (March 2017)

More you cannot ask…purchase this with confidence.

Grego Edwards, Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review

There are many first-rate recordings of these old but ever-new harpsichord suites, making it always harder to imagine yet another top-of-the-line approach that is non-duplicative. But such imagination, if difficult, is not impossible, as Vinikour here proves to sublime effect.

Mark Estren, Infodad

These are straightforward, uncluttered, direct performances that…deliver the notes earnestly and sincerely.
— Patrick Rucker, Gramophone
An utterly absorbing set that discloses something new at each encounter.
— Paul Riley, BBC Music Magazine

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