This five movement piece is a shortened, simplified version, made in August 2010 especially for Angela Hewitt’s Bach Book of my longer and more ambitious Partita, also written for her in December 2009. Both larger and smaller are built around the first strain of J S Bach’s Goldberg ‘Aria’ bass: the longer version’s centrepiece comprises an elaboration of the additional canons, only discovered in recent times, that Bach sketched in the back pages of his personal copy, as published, of the complete Goldberg Variations. In the simpler version this is replaced by a brief scherzino, using the same basic shape but without the thoroughgoing polyphonic workout. Otherwise the two pieces share the same ideas and the same central key: but in the shorter everything is realigned and recast, so the newer could be called the elder’s younger brother – closely related but quite distinct.
The shape is: Overture; Arietta; Scherzino; Pastorale; Epilogue. The movements play without a break.
Robin Holloway, 2010
This programme note can be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with a credit to the composer.