Fantasia and Fugue in G minor

From Wind Repertory Project
Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach (trans. Joseph Horovitz)

This work bears the designation BWV 542.

General Info

Year: c. 1720 / 1986
Duration: c. 14:05
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Organ
Publisher: Molenaar Edition
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - €189.09   |   Score Only (print) - €29.38


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
Tuba I-II
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Snare Drum (optional)
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Vibraphone (or Glockenspiel)
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

This Fantasia and Fugue has long been known affectionately as "The Great G Minor." It is surely one of Bach's most noble and moving works for the organ. The origin of the composition is not certain, although we know that it existed by 1720. It is most probable that Bach performed the Fantasia along with the Fugue when he visited Hamburg in November of that year in order to apply for the vacant post or organist and choirmaster at the Jacobi-Church. His astonishing keyboard virtuosity on that occasion is well documented, but he did not obtain the post. There is indeed evidence that the successful applicant, one Heitman, bribed the town council.

The passionate and tragic mood of the Fantasia is ideally balanced by the four-part Fugue which has traditionally followed it in performance. Its main theme, an elegantly poised dance motif, appears in every possible permutation, combined with rollicking contrapunctal cascades of inexhaustible invention. My own obvious enthusiasm for this work, based on over 20 years of studying it, has prompted this transcription, by way of hoping to share my joy with the wind band fraternity.

- Program Note by transcriber

The Great Fantasia and Fugue in G minor, BWV 542, is an organ prelude and fugue by Johann Sebastian Bach. It acquired that name to distinguish it from the earlier Little Fugue in G minor, which is shorter. This piece is not to be confused with the Prelude and Fugue in A minor, which is also for organ and also sometimes called "the Great".

- Program Note from Wikipedia


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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