J.S. Bach: Rondeau from Orchestral Suite #2 in B minor


Downloadable Score

Any orchestral tempo of this delightful Rondeau will appropriately be much faster than the Allegretto I assigned. For a pianist, series of eighth-note 3rds and 6ths which are found in abundance in this transcription are much trickier than they look. Measures 29-35, for instance, are quite dense and rushing them would be a natural tendency, so please remember to slow down and enjoy the music. This is a graceful and somewhat “mannered” piece, as indicated by the “Mannheim Sigh” which dominates the theme.

I indicated slurs where I think they’re absolutely necessary – as in the “sighs” mentioned above – but most other eight notes can be played legato as well and the touch can be changed according to your preference or, when the theme repeats, for variety.

I also took care in designating quite a few dynamics and expression marks here, to preserve the Rondeau’s playful character. The short crescendos leading up to a new dynamic level were added more as an opportunity for the lower voices to be expressive than a stylistic deviation from the Baroque norm of terraced dynamics. We are playing the modern piano after all.