Tuesday, January 15, 2008


What is a minuet? You would think that any pianist would be so familiar with the form having played so very many of these dances in their early careers, but this is about all any of us know.

Grove's Dictionary says....Minuet: A dance, of French origin, in a moderate triple metre. It was known at Louis XIV's court as an elegant social dance performed by one couple at a time, and remained the most popular dance among the European aristocracy until the late 18th century. Lully introduced numerous minuets into his operas and ballets and the dance was frequently included in Baroque keyboard and ensemble suites.

I don’t have much (yet) to say about the Minuet from the E Major French Suite. Mr. Potterton suggested a more relaxed tempo and to save all of the ornaments for the repeats. The only controversy I can find is that some editions --- such as the Henle Urtext --- have grouped the three short works (Gavotte, Polonaise and Minuet) together. Traditionally it seems that the Bourree was placed after the Polonaise with the Minuet following. In that scheme the two fast sections (Bourree and Gigue) are broken up with the ending of the suite being fast – slow – fast. I’m leaning towards playing the three short works together a la the Henle edition because I like them as a group. However, having a slow piece in between the fast dances provides a respite for the fingers, but then once the digits are warmed up, might as well race to the finish!

No comments: