Bach – Overture to Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D Major, BWV 1069

by Max Derrickson

Overture to Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D Major, BWV 1069

Johann Sebastian Bach
(Born in Eisenach, Germany in 1685; died in Leipzig, Germany in 1750)

Musicologists presume that Bach created his four Orchestral Suites during his days as Kapellmeister for Prince Leopold of Cöthen (1717-1723).  The only surviving copies of them, however, date to 1729, when Bach assumed directorship of the Collegium musicum of Leipzig, [. . .]    during which dozens of Bach’s secular (and sacred-turned-secular) compositions reappeared, many of his great works might have slipped into the abyss.

Bach’s Orchestral Suites emulated the French Overtures that emerged around the turn of the 18th Century in the courts of Louis XIV and which became tremendously popular in Europe.  An Overture was a suite of between four and eight (sometimes more) dances used as part of French opera performances.  These suites would begin [. . .] in particular, has charmed audiences for nearly three Centuries.


The opening theme in this Overture to Suite No. 4 is stately, using dotted rhythms as well as timpani and trumpets for regality and jubilation.  Of the four Suites, No. 4 is the only one [. . .] with the feeling of having heard musical purity.