Review


Johann Sebastian Bach
In Dulci Jubilo: arranged for Brass Quintet

Arranged by Ken Piotrowski

2 B-flat trumpets, horn, trombone, tuba

Massapequa, New York, United States
Publisher: Cor Publishing Company
Date of Publication: 2018
URL: http://www.wiltshiremusic.com

Score and parts

Genre: BRASS ENSEMBLES

Transposed down a third from the original organ score, this chorale prelude is based on the tune “In Dulci Jubilo.” All parts are accessible by a reasonably accomplished high school level ensemble; the trumpet reaches a2 and tuba reaches g. There is some rhythmic intricacy in a 3/2 context with syncopated triplets. The lines are idiomatic to the organ and not necessarily ideal for brass. Selecting a reasonable tempo within the ability of the ensemble, and not necessarily what an organist can do, will be essential for a successful performance.

In addition to the musical challenges of performing Bach well, maintaining the consistency of sound as each line is handed from one player to the next in ascending and descending lines in terms of timbre, rhythm, and style is quite difficult. Concentrated listening to the original organ score to understand the individual part’s changing role measure to measure will help this.

Appropriate dynamics and articulations have been added. The parts could be reformatted to fit one page; nonetheless they are easy to read. There are some typographical issues such as a slur crossing a crescendo, subito marking over mf, odd grace notes on the last note in the horn and trombone, and dynamics missing in the horn part at the end.

Piotrowski has 24 titles in the Wiltshire catalog. It is good to know this arrangement is available for brass quintet, but there might be arrangements of Bach’s other music better suited for a church service or concert.

Reviewer: David Stern
Review Published November 30, 2019