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Prelude and Fugue in B-flat major (Bach)

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This work has been identified for inclusion in the Small Band Repertoire Initiative. You may find discussion of the work's challenges and merits under the Discussion tab above. You may also contribute your own thoughts and recommendations by joining the WRP.


Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach (trans. Roland Moehlmann)


This work bears the designation BWV 553, originally in C major.


General Info

Year: ca. 1690 / 1939 / 1988
Duration: c. 5:35
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Organ
Publisher: Alfred Publishing Co.
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $77.00; (digital) - $77.00   |   Score Only (print) - $12.00; (digital) - $12.00


Instrumentation

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


Errata

In Parts:

  • Piccolo, m. 2: Missing a D4 dotted half note on beat 1 and under the slur starting on the and of beat 3 in the previous measure


Program Notes

Preserving the rich texture of the original by using the modern symphonic band to its fullest potential in capturing the sound of a huge concert pipe organ, this proven Baroque transcription is exceptionally strong.

- Program Note from publisher


This is an arrangement of Johann Sebastian Bach's Prelude and Fugue in C major, BWV 553, which is the first in a collection published around 1852 entitled Acht Kleine Praeludien und Fugen (“Eight Short Preludes and Fugues.”) However, some historians now attribute this publication to Johann Ludwig Krebs, who was a pupil of Bach, due to certain unusual characteristics of the music when played on the organ.

Roland L. Moehlmann's version was arranged in 1955 while he was serving as the director of the Cedar Rapids Municipal Band in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.


Preludes were typically composed for keyboard instruments that were designed to be paired with a contrasting work (i.e. Prelude and Fugue, or Prelude and Nocturne, etc.). The purpose of the prelude is to establish the key center of the following work. Fugues are based upon imitative counterpoint. Bach described fugues “as if they were persons who conversed together like a select company.”

Bach’s music was not as appreciated during his time as it has been since the mid-19th century. Transcribers have found a treasure trove of pieces to provide the wind band, and the Prelude and Fugue in B-flat is one of the best. Moehlmann’s transcription captures the colors of the organ and spreads the melodic material through virtually all instruments of the wind band.

- Program Note from Kennesaw State University University Band concert program, 22 April 2019


Prelude and Fugue in B-flat Major is one of several of Bach’s organ works that Roland Moehlmann transcribed for concert band. Bach often arranged his own works for alternative performing forces, so Moehlmann’s reworking is in a grand tradition. Here he arranges Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in C Major, BWV 553, one of Bach’s Eight Little Preludes and Fugues, transposing the piece into a key that is suitable for the standard wind band. This piece, relatively simple in the context of Bach’s many preludes and fugues, probably was meant as a teaching piece originally, and continues that mission here.

- Program Note by Lindsay Sandberg for the University of Southern Mississippi Concert Band A concert program, 16 November 2020


Commercial Discography


Media


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class BB
  • Arkansas: III
  • Florida: III
  • Georgia: IV
  • Indiana: ISSMA SENIOR BAND GROUP II
  • Kansas: III
  • Louisiana: III
  • Maryland: III
  • Massachusetts: III
  • Michigan: Junior High AA
  • Minnesota: II
  • New York: Concert Band III
  • North Carolina: III
  • Oklahoma: III-A
  • South Carolina: III
  • Texas: III. Complete
  • Virginia: III
  • West Virginia: III


Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Eastern Michigan University (Ypsilanti) Symphonic Band (J. Nick Smith, conductor) - 20 April 2021
  • University of British Columbia (Vancouver) Concert Winds (Christin Reardon MacLellan, conductor) - 15 April 2021
  • Chadron (Neb.) State College Wind Symphony (John Wojcik, conductor) - 9 April 2021
  • University of Southern Mississippi (Hattiesburg) Concert Band A (Lindsay Sandberg, conductor) - 16 November 2020
  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Wind Orchestra (Nicholas P. Waldron, conductor) – 8 March 2020
  • University of Charleston (S.C.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (John Christian, conductor) – 27 October 2019
  • University of Colorado Boulder Concert Band (Matthew Dockendorf, conductor) – 21 October 2019
  • Pima Community College (Tucson, Ariz.) Wind Ensemble (Mark Nelson, conductor) – 17 October 2019
  • New Hammer Band (Stockton, Calif.) (Emily Threinen, conductor) – 8 September 2019
  • Catawba Valley New Horizons Band (Hickory, N.C.) (Len Allman, conductor) – 23 May 2019
  • Kennesaw (Ga.) State University University Band (Trey Harris, conductor) – 22 April 2019
  • California All-State Junior High School Concert Band (Reed Chamberlin, conductor) – 17 February 2019 (2019 CASMEC Conference, Fresno)
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) All-Campus Band (Benjamin Alaniz, conductor) – 4 December 2018
  • University of South Alabama (Mobile) Wind Ensemble (William Petersen, conductor) – 6 November 2018
  • New Horizons Band (Iowa City, Iowa) (Nolan Hauta, conductor) – 29 July 2018
  • Columbus (Ohio) State Community College Concert Band (Thomas Lloyd, conductor) – 1 May 2018
  • Michigan State University (East Lansing) Campus Band (Connor Fetting, conductor) – 29 November 2017
  • University of Missouri (Columbia) Symphonic Band (Brian Silvey, conductor) – 14 March 2017
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) Maroon Campus Band (Lindsay Lundeen, conductor) – 5 December 2016


Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music


All Wind Works


Resources

  • Bach, J.; Moehlmann, R. (1955). Prelude and Fugue in B-Flat Major [score]. Leblanc Pub: Kenosha, Wisc.
  • Miles, Richard B., and Larry Blocher. (2010). Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 1. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 365-371.
  • Perusal score