Ralph Sauer
Practice with Bach, Volume 1: Twenty-four études in all keys based upon preludes from the Well-Tempered Clavier
Tenor trombone

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2018

Etude book


These études are drawn from both books of the ’48,’ and follow the original ordering chromatically from C major through B minor. Mr. Sauer has noted that it was his intention to provide study material that is both technically and intellectually challenging, and has musical interest; in this he has greatly succeeded. The first study is the C major Prelude from Book 2, offering an almost unbroken stream of 16th notes, interrupted only by a few eighths and thirty-seconds. There are larger intervals to be negotiated, and a range of F-c2. The C minor Prelude, Book 2, offers much of the same. The next study is drawn from the left hand part of the C-sharp major Prelude in Book 1, which is given here in D-flat. Then we are back with Book 2 and the right hand part for the C-sharp minor, D major and D minor Preludes.


Similar processes are used throughout. Overall range is E-c2. Tenor and bass clefs are used. The greatest benefit to be gained from these studies will be increased fluency in the execution of 16th note patterns. What’s not found in these pieces is a profusion of large and awkward intervals. For those, one has only to look to Bach’s ‘Cello Suites.’ There are of course exceptions; the F-sharp minor prelude from Book1 begins with an upward leap of a 12th; the first note has been transposed down an octave! Few trombone players, I imagine, will need to be persuaded of the value of practicing with Bach; I have been using Jacques Toulon’s Bach Etude book for the last 30 years. I suspect that from now on I shall increasingly be using Ralph Sauer’s.

Reviewer: Keith Davies Jones
Review Published January 4, 2019