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Passacaglia (Homage on B-A-C-H)

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Ron Nelson

Ron Nelson

General Info

Year: 1993 / 2021
Duration: c. 10:15
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: LudwigMasters Publications, through Keiser Southern Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $175.00   |   Score Only (print) - $25.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II-III (III doubling Alto Flute)
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-XII
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV-V-VI
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III-IV
Euphonium I-II
String Bass
Synthesizer (simulating organ)
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bongos
  • Crotales
  • Glockenspiel
  • Marimba
  • Slap Stick
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbals (2)
  • Tam-tam
  • Temple Block
  • Tenor Drum
  • Tom-tom
  • Tubular Bells
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Passacaglia (Homage on B-A-C-H) is a set of continuous variations in moderately slow triple meter built on an eight-measure melody (basso ostinato) which is stated, in various registers, twenty-five times. It is a seamless series of tableux which move from darkness to light.

Written in homage to Johann Sebastian Bach, it utilizes, as counterpoint throughout, the melodic motive represented by his name in German nomenclature, i.e. B-flat, A, C, and B natural. Bach introduced this motive in his unfinished The Art of the Fugue, the textures of which are paraphrased (in an octatonic scale) in the fourth and fifth variations. The seventh variation incorporates Gustave Nottebohm’s resolution (altered) of the unfinished final fugue of The Art of Fugue. The famous melody from Bach’s Passacaglia in C minor appears once (also altered) in variation nineteen.

Passacaglia (Homage on B-A-C-H) was commissioned by the Eta-Omicron Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, The United States Air Force Band, and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Wind Studies Department, in celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the founding of The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

- Program Note by Ron Nelson



State Ratings

  • Florida: VI
  • New York: VI
  • North Carolina: VI
  • South Carolina: VI


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of South Alabama (Mobile) Wind Ensemble (William Petersen, conductor) – 21 November 2019
  • State University of New York, Fredonia, Wind Ensemble (Paula Holcomb, conductor) – 19 October 2019
  • Texas Tech University (Lubbock) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Sarah McKoin, conductor) – 28 March 2019
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) Wind Ensemble (Rodney Dorsey, conductor) – 5 February 2019
  • Penn State University (University Park) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Dennis Glocke, conductor) – 13 November 2018
  • University of Florida (Gainesville) Wind Symphony (David Waybright, conductor) – 8 November 2018
  • Oklahoma State University (Stillwater) Concert Band (Marc Sosnowchik, conductor) – 26 April 2018
  • University of South Florida (Tampa) Wind Ensemble (John Carmichael, conductor) – 1 March 2018
  • University of Georgia (Athens) Hodgson Symphonic Band (Michael Robinson, conductor) – 8 February 2018
  • Eastman Wind Orchestra (Rochester, N.Y.) (William Talley, conductor) – 31 January 2018
  • Colorado Wind Ensemble (Denver) (David Kish, conductor) – 21 October 2017
  • University of Georgia (Athens) Hodgson Wind Ensemble (Cynthia Johnson-Turner, conductor) – 4 April 2017
  • University of North Texas (Denton) Symphonic Band (Dennis W. Fisher, conductor) – 17 November 2016
  • Illinois State University (Normal) Wind Symphony and Symphonic Winds (Joe Manfredo, conductor) – 23 September 2016
  • Kennesaw State University (Georgia) Wind Ensemble (David Kehler, conductor) – 16 September 2015
  • University of Florida Wind Symphony (David Waybright, conductor) – 19 January 2015
  • Ohlone Wind Orchestra (Fremont, Calif.) (Tony Clements, conductor) – 22 March 2015
  • Eastman Wind Orchestra (Mark Davis Scatterday, conductor) – 4 February 2015
  • University of Louisiana - Lafayette Wind Ensemble (Dr. William J. Hochkeppel, conductor) – 31 October 2013
  • High School Symphonic Band [Interlochen, Mich.] (Frederick Fennell, conductor) – 8 August 1999

Works for Winds by This Composer