Johann Sebastian Bach
Partita : BWV 1013 arranged for tuba (or bass trombone)

Arranged by Ralph Sauer

unaccompanied tuba (or bass trombone)

Vancouver, BC, , Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2014


The well-known Partita BWV 1013 by J. S. Bach is now available for bass trombone and tuba thanks to Ralph Sauer and Cherry Classics Music. This challenging unaccompanied work, most likely composed for the transverse flute, has been transposed from the original key of A minor down to G minor to better suit low brass instruments. Its melodic range, between G and d1, should not be problematic for intermediate or advanced performers.

The work is similar to other unaccompanied works by J.S. Bach that are commonly played by trombonists, i.e. the six suites for solo cello, filled with scalar passages, arpeggios, and moments of intricate counterpoint within the single, solo line. When the high level of flexibility and virtuosity required to perform these movements is included, particularly at or near commonly performed tempos, you are faced with a complex and difficult piece of music.

The opening Allemande presents challenges with its continuous running sixteenth notes and the absence of rests. Thankfully, Mr. Sauer has included breath marks while also encouraging performers to phrase the movement differently each time until they settle on something personally satisfying. Interestingly, and quite possibly due to the movement’s length and issues of phrasing, the repeats have been omitted. If one would so choose, they could be easily inserted after studying one of the many editions for flute.

The remaining movements, Corrente, Sarabande, and Bourrée Anglaise, include their original repeats and suggested breath marks that are by no means set-in-stone. Phrasing is not as challenging as the opening movement but there are still plenty of moments where the performer must find what works best for them. Finally, dynamic markings are absent from the entire work to allow performers to create their own individual interpretation.

To get the most out of this classic work, it is highly recommended that performers listen to multiple flute recordings for phrasing, style, and ornamentation ideas. Like similar unaccompanied works by J.S. Bach and other Baroque-era composers, the level of effort required to prepare the piece for performance may seem substantial, but the results can be extremely rewarding.

Reviewer: Eric High
Review Published January 31, 2019