The so-called 'French overture' BWV 831 along with the 'Italian concerto ' F major BWV 971 form the second part of the Clavier-Übung by Johann Sebastian Bach. To make the difference between the two styles as clear as possible Bach chose the tonality of B minor for the overture and transposed a clavier-suite in C minor, which had been written for connoisseurs only a few years before. The comparison between the two versions becomes particularly interesting in view of the fact that Bach changed many details of the original work when copying it and made performance practice indications more precise.
(...) Bach originally composed the B-minor French Overture (actually a full multi-movement suite) a semitone higher. Both versions appear here, the rhythms of the earlier overture being notated more simply, the later more accurately (performance-practice students take note). (…)
Music Teacher 05/2002 (Michael Round)