Fugue in E-flat Major

From Wind Repertory Project
Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach (trans. John T. Abrams and J. Benjamin Jones)

Subtitle: St. Anne's Fugue

This work bears the designation BWV 552

General Info

Year: 1739 / 2019
Duration: c. 7:10
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Organ
Publisher: Manuscript
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


Full Score
C Piccolo/Flute I
Flute II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
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 Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Glockenspiel


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

During the early 18th century, famed German composer Johann Sebastian Bach composed four collections of keyboard music designed primarily as practice pieces for pianists under the title Clavier-übung. The first two collections, composed in 1731 and 1735, along with the final set from 1742, contain some of the composer’s most well-known harpsichord works including the Six Partitas, "Italian" Concerto and the "Goldberg" Variations. Aside from its opening and closing works the vast majority of the third collection, Clavier-übung III, composed in 1739 for organ, is less often heard, especially in its entirety.

The collection opens with a praeludium in E-flat major followed by twenty-one chorale preludes, four duets and a closing fugue in E-flat major. The fugue that closes the collection has earned the nickname of St. Anne’s Fugue due to its similarity to the melody of William Croft’s hymn tune from 1708, O God Our Help in Ages Past. Clavier-übung III, also known as the "German Organ Mass", was intended to portray ideas from the Christian faith as well as the Lutheran denomination. References to the number three, understood to represent the Holy Trinity, can be found throughout the works.

Bach’s Fugue in E-flat Major: St Anne’s was composed in three sections, each with its own distinct style, tempo, and fugue subjects. Other references to the number three includes the work’s key signature with its three flats, and the number of measures in each section, each a multiple of three. The opening section is the slowest of the three, includes simple counterpoint, and has a calming quality. The middle portion of the piece is written in a slightly faster tempo and includes much more florid counterpoint. These ideas combine with the change in meter to create a brighter feeling with forward momentum. The subject from the opening of the work returns towards the middle of the section in a slightly altered state.

The final portion of the work is again written in a faster tempo than the preceding sections. The entrances of the fugue subject begin to occur more frequently and in closer proximity to each other, building anticipation towards the climax of the piece. The fugue concludes with the original subject reappearing, this time beneath the intricate counterpoint and melodies above.

- Program Note from University of North Carolina, Greensboro, Wind Ensemble concert program, 25 April 2019


(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

  • University of North Carolina, Greensboro, Wind Ensemble (J. Benjamin Jones, conductor) – 25 April 2019

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works