Suite No. 1

For Solo Violin
(2014) 12 minutes

Suite No. 1 was commissioned by Fenella Humphreys as part of her Bach to the Future project, and premiered at the Peter Pears Recital Room, Snape Maltings, September 2014.

Programme note 

Suite No. 1 was commissioned by Fenella Humphreys as part of her Bach to the Future project to commission six British composers to write new solo works in response to J.S. Bach's Sonatas and Partitas. My work is inspired by  Bach's Partita No. 3 in E major BWV 1006, but rather than base my work on any specific motives or harmonies, I simply listened and listened to the Bach, identified what really appealed to me, then tried to forget Bach's music and write a work which had similar feelings, melodic shapes and moods, or that employed a similar striking violin technique (for example). For instance, the first movement is based around the open e string, as it was the joyful 'e-ness' of Bach's first movement which really struck me. In other movements I tried to recreate the energy, phrasing and poise of various parts of the Bach, and one movement features a drone all the way through (where as in the Bach this only appears briefly). 

The movements are as follows:

I) Adagietto

II) Allegro scherzando

III) Adagio cantabile

IV) Allegro molto

V) Allegro giocoso

© Cheryl Frances-Hoad, 2014


"Frances-Hoad’s Suite No 1 is a vibrant response to that work [Bach's E major Partita], circling around it and expanding upon some of its gestures with a light yet intense touch, and ending with a jig more rollicking than Bach’s." 

Erica Jeal, The Guardian

Selected performance history (post-premiere)

10th November 2019 - Fenella Humphreys at Market Hall, Appleby, UK

28th September 2018 - Fenella Humpreys at St. Mary the Virgin Church, Hambledon, Henley-on-Thames, UK. Part of the Chiltern Arts Festival

27th July 2017 - Fenella Humphreys at Guiting Power Village Hall, Cotswolds, UK, as part of the Guiting Music Festival

18th February 2017 - Fenella Humphreys at Friends Meeting House, Bainbridge, UK 

19th September 2015 - Fenella Humphreys at Abberton Church, Essex, UK. Part of the Roman River Festival

9th June 2015 - Fenella Humphreys at the Forge, Camden, UK

18th December 2014 - Fenella Humphreys at Queens University, Belfast, UK

16th November 2014 - Fenella Humphreys at Clare College Chapel, Cambridge, UK

1st November  2014 - Fenella Humphreys at The Church of Christ the Corner Stone, Milton Keynes, UK

21st October 2014 - Fenella Humphreys at The Abbey, Sutton Courtenay, UK


Buy Bach to the Future, Fenella Humphreys' CD featuring Suite No. 1

Download from iTunes

Stream on Spotify