suite no. 1 in c major (from six baroque suites) (1983)

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A virtuoso pianist and harpsichordist, Reddy studied early music performance practice at the Royal College of Music and King’s College London, and on his return to South Africa in 1983 he wrote a set of ‘baroque suites’ after J.S. Bach between 1983 and 1985. The manuscript of suite no. 1 in c major is dated December 1983, the end of the composer’s first year of employment as a Lecturer at the University of Durban-Westville. His preface to the whole set explains how he conceived it. In 2006 he typeset the suites in Sibelius, printing them out and binding them with front covers drawn from William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience. These Blake illustrations fittingly denote the emotional journey from “almost childlike naiveté” (in Reddy’s words) in suite no. 1 to resignation at the end of the set. (A reproduction of the original facsimile of the 1st edition of the Blake held in the British Library, London - see - provides an interesting counterpoint to the music.) A less obvious source of inspiration than Bach or Blake in suite no. 1 is Schumann, whose Album for the Young ends with a chorale entitled ‘The Poet Speaks’.