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What are Bach’s absolute best pieces?
My votes, in no order:
- The Sonatas and Partitas for Violin, as a group. I refuse to separate out the Chaconne, they’re all sublime.
- The Cello Suite no. 5, with the Devil’s Fugue.
- The Passacaglia & Fugue.
- Brandenburg no. 5.
- Orchestral Suite no. 3. Minus the Air; the Goldberg Air is more Bachlike for me, anyway.
- The Double Violin Concerto.
- Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue. Bonus points because Glenn Gould said it was Bach for people who don’t like Bach.
- The Capriccio for the departure of a dear brother.
- The keyboard Toccatas.
- The St Anne Prelude and Fugue.
Yes, I know there are some gaps there, and some of the choices are a bit eccentric.