Johann Sebastian Bach
Capriccio, BWV 992 “On the Departure of a Beloved Brother”: BWV 992 “On the Departure of a Beloved Brother”

Arranged by John Marcellus

Transcribed for four part trombone ensemble

N.p., , Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2017

Score and parts


It is widely believed that Johann Sebastian Bach wrote his Capriccio on the Departure of a Beloved Brother early in his life when his older brother Johann Jacob left to join the military band of the Swedish army. Dedicated to the tragic and untimely passing of Steve Witser, Dr. John Marcellus masterfully transcribed this lesser known keyboard work for four part trombone ensemble.


Set a perfect fourth lower than the original version, each movement was carefully adjusted and adapted to best suit the register demands and voicing capabilities of a four part trombone ensemble. To avoid extreme registers, a good bit of re-orchestrating and in some instances rewriting of parts seems to have been employed. The figured bass sections have been realized with an abundance of sustained tones and suspensions rather than the more typically ornamented passages we might expect from a keyboardist. A minimal number of dynamic markings, slur indications, and tempo suggestions have been added. However, none of these seem to significantly distort the composition or impose an interpretation. Rather, they seem intended to simply save rehearsal time.


Out of respect for the intensity of this music and the seriousness of its dedication, Dr. Marcellus’ transcription of the Bach Capriccio demands a high degree of musicianship and should be performed with the utmost care and attention to detail. With a plethora of difficult ornamentations and exposed passages, spanning most of the tonal range of the ensemble—from GG in the bass trombone part to e-flat2 in the first trombone part—this music is best suited for experienced ensembles and trombonists. It is available from Cherry Classics Music and represents a perfect featured work for any solemn occasion.

Reviewer: Greg Strohman
Review Published January 31, 2019