Come, Sweet Death (arr Reed)

From Wind Repertory Project
Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach (arr. Alfred Reed)

Subtitle: Chorale Prelude for Concert Band/Wind Ensemble freely transcribed from J.S. Bach

This work is also known by its German title, Komm', süsser Tod. It bears the designation BWV 492.

General Info

Year: 1736 / 1976
Duration: c. 3:35
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Solo voice and basso continuo
Publisher: C.L. Barnhouse
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $60.00   |   Score Only - $25.00


Full Score
Condensed Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Bass Saxophone (optional)
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
B-flat Cornet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Come Sweet Death (Komm, süßer Tod) is one of a group of 69 so-called “Sacred Songs and Airs” attributed to J.S. Bach, each of which exists only in the form of a single melodic line with figured bass. These pieces were first published in 1736, some 14 years before Bach’s death, as the musical settings for a huge collection of 954 sacred songs edited by Bach himself. For all of its apparent simplicity of musical construction (a small, two-part song form, played through twice), this music is deeply moving and of great expressiveness, culminating in an exalted singing line that perhaps signified for the deeply religious Bach the willing embrace of death as the final deliverance from earthly strife, and an entrance into eternal glory.

The first performance of this setting took place on April 2, 1976, with the University of Miami Symphonic Wind Ensemble under the direction of Frederick Fennell.

- Program Note by the Antoinette Reading Junior High School Band concert program, 17 December 2014

Komm, süsser tod (Come, Sweet Death) is one of a group of 69 so-called “Sacred Songs and Airs” attributed to J.S. Bach, each of which exists only in the form of a single melodic line with figured bass. These pieces were first published in 1736, some fourteen years before Bach’s death, as the musical settings for a huge collection of 954 sacred songs and hymns assembled by Georg Christian Schemelli and edited by Bach himself. In 1832, they made their first appearance as an addendum to the 371 four-part, fully harmonized chorales in an edition published by C.F. Becker.

Ever since that time, there has been some disagreement among musical scholars as to just how many of these 69 melodies were actually written by Bach himself, how many were merely arranged by him, or even if there were actually that number at all that were in any way composed or worked on by him. The standard Bach Gesellschaft edition, for instance, lists 75 such pieces, not 69, and, on the other hand, one of the greatest authorities on German evangelical Church music, Johannes Zahn, claimed that only 21 of the 69 (or 75) should be considered as Bach’s own work, and all of the rest credited to other composers. However this may be, it is interesting to observe that since the first separate appearance of this group of pieces in 1832, there have been at least eight other editions prepared and published by different authorities, and the melody of Come, Sweet Death appears in all of them. Its authenticity as an original work from Bach’s own hand seems never to have been questioned by any of the compilers and editors of these collections during the past 150 years.

- Program Note from the Baldwin-Wallace College Symphonic Wind Ensemble concert program, 20 November 2015


(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Texas Tech University (Lubbock, TX) Symphonic Band (Eric Allen, conductor) - 3 February 2024
  • Meridian Community Band (Okemos, Mich.) (Michael Scholes, conductor) - 3 November 2023
  • Washtenaw International High School (Ypsilanti, Mich.) Wind Ensemble (Brooke Pierson, conductor) - 8 November 2022
  • West Valley High School (Yakima, Wash.) Wind Ensemble (Kirk Knight, conductor) - 3 November 2022
  • University of Illinois (Champaign) Campus Concert Band (Michelle Bell, conductor) - 22 April 2022
  • California State University Northridge Wind Ensemble (Lawrence Stoffel, conductor) – 10 March 2020
  • University of Texas (Austin) Wind Symphony (Scott Hanna, conductor) – 23 February 2020
  • Ripon (Wisc.) College Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Tobin Shucha, conductor) – 17 November 2019
  • Missouri State University (Springfield) Wind Ensemble (John Zastoupil, conductor)– 26 September 2019
  • Collinsville (Ill.) High School Symphonic Band (Nickolas Arnold, conductor) - 10 October 2019
  • Greater Hartford (Conn.) Youth Wind Ensemble (Glen Adsit, conductor) – 12 May 2019
  • Independent School Concert Band (Kansas) – 28 March 2019
  • Kennesaw (Ga.) State University University Band (Trey Harris, conductor) – 25 February 2019
  • Ithaca (N.Y.) College Concert Band (Benjamin Rochford, conductor) – 12 December 2018
  • Truman State University (Kirksville, Mo.) Wind Symphony I (Sean Schierbecker, conductor) – 14 November 2018
  • State University of New York, Potsdam, Symphonic Band (Brian K. Doyle, conductor) – 4 October 2018
  • University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College-Conservatory of Music Wind Ensemble (Kevin Holzman, conductor) – 31 January 2018
  • Central Michigan University (Mount Pleasant) University Band (James Batcheller, conductor) – 27 April 2017
  • Selma (Calif.) High School Symphonic Band (Janna Hall, conductor) - 24 March 2017 (2017 Sutherland Wind Festival (Fresno, Calif.)
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) Maroon Campus Band (Cassandra Bechard, conductor) – 6 March 2017
  • Lawrence University (Appleton, Wisc.) Symphonic Band (Matthew Arau, conductor) – 4 March 2017

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Bach, J.; Reed, A. (1976). Come, Sweet Death = Komm', süsser Tod : Chorale Prelude for Concert Band [or] Wind Ensemble [score]. C.L. Barnhouse: Oskaloosa, Iowa.
  • Komm', süsser Tod. Wikipedia. Accessed 29 July 2023
  • Miles, Richard B., and Larry Blocher. (2010). Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 1. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 305-313.
  • Perusal Score