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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.


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 Company
Cost: Score & Parts - $48.00   |   Score Only - $3.50


Instrumentation

Full Score
Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Eb Soprano Clarinet
Bb Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
Eb Alto Clarinet
Bb Bass Clarinet
Bb Contrabass Clarinet
Bassoon I-II
Alto Saxophone I-II
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
Bass Saxophone (Opt.)
Trumpet (in Bb) I-II-III
Cornet (in Bb) I-II
French Horn I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Euphonium
Tuba
String Bass
Timpani


Errata

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


Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.


Audio Links

None discovered thus far.


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • 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
  • Ithaca (N.Y.) College Wind Ensemble (Christopher Hughes, conductor) – 22 February 2017
  • Appalachian State University (Boone, N.C.) Wind Ensemble (John Stanley Ross, conductor) – 17 February 2017
  • University of North Texas (Denton) Wind Ensemble (Kelly Desjardins, conductor) – 16 February 2017
  • Boulder (Colo.) Concert Band (Rafael Antonio Rodriguez, conductor) – 9 November 2016
  • West Chester (Penn.) University Wind Symphony (M. Gregory Martin, conductor) – 29 September 2016
  • Cuesta Wind Ensemble (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) (Jennifer Martin, conductor) – 11 May 2016


Works for Winds by this Composer


Resources

  • 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.
  • Miles, Richard B., and Larry Blocher. (2010). Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 1. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 305-313.