Johann Sebastian Bach
Fantasia in G major: BWV 572

Arranged by Ralph Sauer

Eight trombones

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2017

Score and parts


Organist and composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) left behind an enormous catalogue of work: more than 1,100 surviving pieces and fragments have been catalogued. Though he wrote prolifically in many genres, more BWV (Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis) catalogue numbers have been assigned to organ works than to any other group of works in Bach’s catalogue. Through the years, many of these organ pieces--preludes, fugues, fantasias, and toccatas--have been arranged for brass instruments. In this case, noted trombonist and arranger Ralph Sauer has set the majority of Bach’s Fantasia in G Major BWV 572 for trombone octet consisting of six tenor trombones and two bass trombones.

The potential for homogeneous sounds from a large trombone ensemble lends itself well to recreating organ sonorities and styles. Sauer makes good use of this sonority in this transcription;  the ensemble is called upon to play in a broad, lyric style throughout. Though Bach’s organ score contains no more than five to six voices at any given time, Sauer’s use of eight individual parts allows all parties brief rest. The parts, as one might expect of a Bach piece, are often independent, requiring elegant hand off of lines from one player to the next. This independence of parts and their range, GG in the eighth trombone part to b1 in the first, makes this transcription most suitable for college level ensembles and above.

This publication features an easy to read score and thoughtfully laid out parts. Unlike many modern arrangements, Sauer’s parts include cues after any rest that is four measures long or longer. His interesting and careful setting of Bach’s Fantasia in G Major, while far from the only such piece available, is a welcome addition to large trombone ensemble repertoire.

Reviewer: Chad Arnow
Review Published April 2, 2019