From the Publisher
From early in the 17th century until the form engaged the interest of Johann Sebastian Bach, various notable German composers - including Rosenmüller, Fischer, Fasch and Telemann - had contributed to the development of the orchestral suite or 'Ouverture', which name betrays its French theatrical origins. From Bach himself only four such suites have come down to us due to the diligence of C.F.Penzel, who was a student at the Thomasschule from 1751, and who made copies of Bach's MSS he found there. Thus, neither the dates nor the order of composition of the suites can be established with any certainty.
As to the present suite in B minor, recent criticism suggests that Bach's idiomatic flute writing in this popular suite would, even in 1737 or later, have been considered fashionably up-to-date even in Paris. It has also been suggested that the suite could have been written expressly for Pierre-Gabriel Buffardin, principal flautist of the Dresden Court Orchestra.