Maxime's Resources,Repertoire Bach for Band: A Repertoire List

Bach for Band: A Repertoire List

No student can have a proper music education without having the chance to perform the music of J.S. Bach. Luckily, there are many transcriptions, at all levels, that can be programmed for our ensembles. Baroque music works very well for band.

The following list is by no means exhaustive. New arrangements are being written all the time and there are smaller, boutique publishers popping up around the world. It is very difficult to keep up with every new arrangement on the market.
Any discussion of repertoire is always going to be subjective. What appeals to one won’t necessarily appeal to another.
All the lists of repertoire I recommend are curated. There are no pop songs, show tunes or film scores. There are also (generally) no medleys, even if they are of works by Beethoven or Bach. Although the arranger’s intention is to present more than one work to the students as an educational aim, medleys fail the composer by changing the impression his work was supposed to have, often turning three aesthetic compositions into an entertainment spectacle (medleys also often have stupid titles. See A frustration below.)

Any arrangement that changes the style intended by the composer is also left out. Arrangements of Bach that have the words ‘Rock’ or ‘Boogie’ in the title should be burned.

A frustration

Why do arrangers (or their publishers) feel the need to change the titles of pieces, or present them in a more dumbed-down way. For example, take Christmas Music from Bach, arranged by Frank Erickson. Is there a valid reason not to call it what Bach did, the Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248? Or, in this case, Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 (excerpts). And wouldn’t it be educational to also include the original German: Weihnachts-Oratorium, BWV 248?

Tips for conductors

As with playing any transcription, playing Bach is not only an opportunity for the students, but also an opportunity for the conductor to better their practice. Always listen to the works in their original form and watch videos of the great Bach interpreters.

The best conductors, for as long as I can remember, have advocated the use of Bach chorales for improving their band: for working on tone, intonation, phrasing, singing. A very useful resource for this is Bach and Before for Band, arranged by David Newell (Neil A. Kjos). This collection presents each line of the chorale (SATB) transposed for all instruments, therefore all instruments can play the soprano line, or all instruments could play the bass line. Unison playing is very useful for teaching students melodic inflection and playing in tune. However, Bach himself used the chorales to teach the interpretation of emotion.

Standard Repertoire

Level 1 and 2

At Level 1 and 2 I can’t think of any Bach arrangements that are considered standard repertoire and receive consistent performances.

Level 3 and 4

At Levels 3 and 4, the series of works by Alfred Reed are a must for every band library. The combination of JS Bach and Percy Grainger is too tantalising to ignore (O Mensch Bewein Dein Sunde). The Preludes and Fugues arranged by Moehlmann would also be considered standard repertoire.

Level 5 and 6

At levels 5 and 6 the Donald Hunsberger transcription of the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor is a standout. Grainger’s arrangement of Sheep May Safely Graze, entitled Blithe Bells, is available in two different editions, one by Robert Jager and one by Kevin Kastens. The Goldman transcription of the Fantasia in G Major would be considered standard repertoire at this level.

New Additions

David Whitwell’s new transcription of the Chaconne in D Minor is a tour de force and a must for high level bands. And finally available in a new edition is his transcription of the Bach Capriccio, BWV 992 ‘On the Departure of a Friend’.

Level 1 – Very Easy

Bach March and Musettearr. Mark WilliamsAlfred3:40
Two Bach Hymnsarr. Feldstein and O’ReillyAlfred
Three Bach Miniaturesarr. MossHal Leonard4:41
Two Bach Choralesarr. John KinyonAlfred4:41
Sleepers Wake: Cantata No. 140arr. FinlaysHal Leonard
March Petitearr. GableAlfred1:54
Chorale No. 67 (Gott Lebet Noch)arr. ConleyHal Leonard
Peasant Cantataarr. FinlaysAlfred

Level 2 – Easy

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiringarr. Sam HazoHal Leonard1:46
Aria from Suite No. 3arr. Jack BullockAlfred/Belwin3:30
Aria, When Thou Art near (Bist du bei mir)arr. NowakNortheastern Music3:20
Bach Fugue (Organ Prelude and Fugue in F)arr. John KinyonAlfred
Bach Preludearr. John KinyonAlfred
Bach Aria (If Thou Be Near)arr. Mark WilliamsAlfred2:34
Bach: Two Joyous Choralesarr. Anne McGintyQueenwood
Bist du Bei Mirarr. Anne McGintyQueenwood
March from Notebook of Anna Magdalena Bacharr. StoutamireAlfred
Chorale and Fuguearr. Jack BullockAlfred/Belwin3:50
Five Choralesarr. Christian GuillonneauEditions Robert Martin
Air from the Peasant Cantataarr. GordonKendor
Chorale and Fugue in F Majorarr. Larry DaehnDaehn
Fugue in B Flat Majorarr. Larry DaehnDaehn
Choral from Cantata No. 79arr. Van BeringenDehaske3:27
Chorale and Fugue in G Minorarr. Lucien CaillietHenri Elkan

plus many more

Level 3 – Medium Easy

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiringarr. Jack BullockAlfred/Belwin3:15
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiringarr. Mark HindsleyHindsley Transcriptions
Toccata and Fugue in D Minorarr. LopezAlfred/Belwin6:16
Prelude and Fugue in F Minorarr. MoehlmannAlfred
Come, Sweet Death (Komm, Susser Tod)arr. Alfred ReedCL Barnhouse3:53
Come Sweet Deatharr. Mark HindsleyHindsley Transcriptions
Komm Susser Todarr. LeidzenCarl Fischer
If Thou Be Neararr. Alfred ReedCL Barnhouse
God Still Livesarr. Alfred ReedCL Barnhouse
Prelude No. 4, Well-Tempered Clavierarr. Alfred ReedCL Barnhouse
Passacaglia from Cantata No. 12arr. Larry DaehnDaehn Publications3:18
Bacharr. Bullock (3 movts)Alfred
Sleepers Wakearr. Mark WilliamsAlfred4:26
Sleepers, Wakearr. Sparkede Haske5:09
Fantasia in C Majorarr. Jordan SterkAlfred
Christmas Music from Bacharr. Frank EricksonMary Erickson
Chorale Prelude in E-flatarr. John KinyonAlfred
Gavotte en Rondeau from Partita No. 3 for solo violinarr. BrubakerAlfred2:46
Air for Windsarr. Leland ForsbladGary P Gilroy Publications4:17
When Thou Art Neararr. Andrew BalentCarl Fischer
Sheep May Safely Grazearr. Sparkede Haske
Ariosoarr. Jacob de Haande Haske3:49
Bist du bei Mirarr. Jacob de Haande Haske
Sinfonia Ariosoarr. Frank EricksonAlfred2:28
Air from D Major Suitearr. Mark HindsleyHindsley Transcriptions

Level 4 – Medium

Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiringarr. Alfred ReedCL Barnhouse4:19
Prelude and Fugue in B-Flat Majorarr. MoehlmannAlfred6:15
Prelude and Fugue in E-flat Majorarr. MoehlmannHT Fitzsimons
Prelude and Fugue in A-flatarr. MoehlmannAlfred
Passacagliaarr. Andrew GloverCL Barnhouse8:03
Concerto for Prince Johanntrans. Larry DaehnDaehn Publications2:26
Contrapunctus V from The Art of the Fuguearr. Larry DaehnDaehn Publications3:59
Sheep May Safely Grazearr. Alfred ReedCL Barnhouse6:40
My Jesus O What Anguisharr. Alfred ReedCL Barnhouse
Our Father Who Art in Heavenarr. Alfred ReedCL Barnhouse4:35
Sleepers Awakearr. Alfred ReedCL Barnhouse4:05
Deck Thyself My Soul With Gladnessarr. Alfred ReedCL Barnhouse3:00
My Heart is Filled With Longingarr. Alfred ReedCL Barnhouse
Thus Do You Fare My Jesusarr. Alfred ReedCL Barnhouse
Forget Me Not O Dearest Lordarr. Alfred ReedCL Barnhouse
O Mensch Bewein Dein Sundearr. Percy GraingerG&M Brand
Who Will But Let Himself Be Guidedarr. Alfred ReedCL Barnhouse2:54
Fantasia and Fugue in C Minorarr. Donald HunsbergerAlfred/Belwin
Bach: Toccataarr. Anne McGintyQueenwood5:36
Bach Airarr. Anne McGintyQueenwood
Prelude and Fugue in D Minorarr. MoehlmannAlfred
Prelude and Gloria from Cantata 141arr. Frank EricksonAlfred3:22
Prelude and Fugue in G Minorarr. MoehlmannAlfred
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiringarr. LeidzenCarl Fischer4:34
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiringarr. Sparkede Haske3:20
In Dir ist Freudearr. B CummingsNortheastern Music3:23
Ariosoarr. Alfred ReedCL Barnhouse5:07
Prelude and Fugue in B Flat Minorarr. MoehlmannCL Barnhouse
Prelude and Fugue in B Flatarr. LeidzenG Schirmer
Christ He Is My Lifearr. Lucien CaillietTheodore Presser
Kleine Praludiumarr. MyersLake State Publications
Air from Third Suitearr. WinterbottomBoosey & Hawkes
Chorale and Fugue in E-flatarr. Lucien CaillietHenri Elkan Music

Level 5 – Medium Advanced

Chaconne in D Minorarr. David WhitwellMaxime’s Music8:50
Prelude, BWV 922trans. David WhitwellMaxime’s Music8:20
Prelude and Fugue in E-Flat BWV552arr. Donald HunsbergerAlfred/Belwin14:52
Fantasia in G Majorarr. GoldmanTheodore Presser5:34
Ricercare a 6arr. Frederick FennellLudwig Masters
Fantasia and Fugue in G Minorarr. BoydLudwig Masters
Blithe Bellsarr. Percy Grainger, Robert JagerHal Leonard
Blithe Bellsarr. Percy Grainger, Kevin KastensBRS Music4:26
Prelude Chorale and Fuguearr. Mark HindsleyHindsley Transcriptions
Fervent is My Longing, Fugue in G Minorarr. Lucien CaillietSouthern Music Company
Chaconnearr. Larry DaehnDaehn4:14
Toccata Adagio and Fuguearr. John PaynterLudwig Masters5:17
Contrapunctus IXarr. Andy ClarkCL Barnhouse3:23
Prelude Chorale and Fuguearr. GodfreyChapell Music
Christ His Is My Lifearr. Lucien CaillietLorenz
In Dulci Jubiloarr. GoldmanG Schirmer
Capriccio, BWV 992 “On the Departure of a Friend”mod. edn David WhitwellMaxime’s Music

Level 6 – Advanced

Fugue a la Giguearr. Gustav Holst, ed. MitchellBoosey & Hawkes2:56
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988arr. John R BourgeoisWingert-Jones
Italian Concertoarr. Douglas ArndtDouglas Arndt4:57
Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minorarr. FalconeSouthern Music Company
Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minorarr. HunsbergerSchirmer12:23
Toccata and Fugue in D Minorarr. LeidzenCarl Fischer
Toccata and Fugue in D Minorarr. Donald HunsbergerAlfred8:57
Toccata and Fugue in D Minorarr. Mark HindsleyHindsley Transcriptions9:00
Toccata and Fugue in D Minorarr. Ryan NowlinNeil A Kjos8:50

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