Sheet music

Aria: "Den Tod niemand zwingen kunnt" (BWV 4 No 3) for Pipe Organ

1 part3 pages02:512 years ago518 views
Christ lag in Todes Banden (Christ lay in death's bonds), BWV 4,[a] is a cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. The title also appears as Christ lag in Todesbanden. It is one of Bach's earliest church cantatas, and was probably intended for a performance at Easter in 1707, related to his application for a post at Mühlhausen. It is an early work in a genre to which he later contributed complete cantata cycles for all occasions of the liturgical year. John Eliot Gardiner describes the work as Bach's "first-known attempt at painting narrative in music".

The cantata is a chorale cantata, a type of composition in which both text and music are based on a Lutheran hymn, in this case Martin Luther's hymn of the same name, the main hymn for Easter in seven stanzas which is based in text and tune on Medieval models. In the format of chorale variations "per omnes versus" (for all stanzas), Bach used in each of the seven vocal movements the unchanged words of a stanza of the chorale, and its tune as a cantus firmus. After an opening sinfonia, the variations are arranged in symmetry: chorus – duet – solo – chorus – solo – duet – chorus, with the focus on the central fourth stanza, about the battle between Life and Death. Although all movements are in the same key of E minor, Bach employs a variety of musical forms and techniques to intensify the meaning of the text.

Christ lag in Todes Banden is Bach's first cantata for Easter, also his only extant original composition for the first day of the feast. He later repeatedly performed it as Thomaskantor in Leipzig, beginning in 1724 when he celebrated Easter there for the first time. Only the performance material from Leipzig is extant. It shows a scoring for four vocal parts, a string section of two violins, two violas and continuo, and a choir of cornetto and trombones doubling the voices at times. The scoring of the first performances was possibly similar, in the style of a "Choralkonzert" (chorale concerto) from the 17th century.

Gardiner calls Bach's setting of Luther's hymn "a bold, innovative piece of musical drama" and observes "his total identification with the spirit and letter of Luther's fiery, dramatic hymn".

Bach is believed to have written the work in 1707 when he was a professional organist aged twenty-two. He had been employed for a few years in Arnstadt as organist of St Boniface's church and was seeking promotion to a more important post, which he found at Mühlhausen in 1707. His duties as a church musician involved some responsibility for choral music, but the year when he began composing cantatas is unknown. Christ lag in Todes Banden is one of a small group of cantatas which survive from his years at Arnstadt or Mühlhausen, and these early works include some fine writing. The Bach scholar Christoph Wolff suggests that Bach may have composed other early cantatas which he did not think worth preserving.

In his first years of composing vocal music, until 1708, Bach wrote cantatas only for special occasions such as wedding and funeral. They were based on texts built from biblical passages and hymns. Features which were characteristic of his later cantatas, such as recitatives and arias on contemporary poetry, were not yet present. Instead, the works included elements from the seventeenth century such as motets and chorale concertos. The following table lists the seven extant works composed by Bach before he moved on to the Weimar court in 1708.

Bach structured the cantata in eight movements: an instrumental sinfonia, and seven vocal movements corresponding to the stanzas of the hymn. The duration is given as 22 minutes.

Source: Wikipedia (,_BWV_4).

I created this arrangement of the first Aria: "Den Tod niemand zwingen kunnt" (No one could defeat death) for Pipe Organ.

Aria: "So ist mein Jesus nun gefangen" (BWV 244 No. 27a) for Woodwinds & Strings

6 parts6 pages03:292 years ago516 views
Flute, Oboe, Violin(2), Viola, Cello
The St. Matthew Passion (also frequently but incorrectly referred to as St. Matthew's Passion; German: Matthäus-Passion), BWV 244 is a Passion, a sacred oratorio written by Johann Sebastian Bach in 1727 for solo voices, double choir and double orchestra, with libretto by Picander (Christian Friedrich Henrici). It sets chapters 26 and 27 of the Gospel of Matthew (in the German translation of Martin Luther) to music, with interspersed chorales and arias. It is widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of classical sacred music. The original Latin title Passio Domini nostri J.C. secundum Evangelistam Matthæum translates to "The Passion of our Lord J[esus] C[hrist] according to the Evangelist Matthew"

Bach did not number the sections of the St Matthew Passion, all of them vocal movements, but twentieth-century scholars have done so. The two main schemes in use today are the scheme from the Neue Bach-Ausgabe (NBA, New Bach Edition) which uses a 1 through 68 numbering system, and the older Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (BWV, Bach Works Catalog) scheme which divides the work into 78 numbers. Both use lettered subsections in some cases.

Many composers wrote musical settings of the Passion in the late 17th century. Like other Baroque oratorio passions, Bach's setting presents the Biblical text of Matthew 26–27 in a relatively simple way, primarily using recitative, while aria and arioso movements set newly written poetic texts which comment on the various events in the Biblical narrative and present the characters' states of mind in a lyrical, monologue-like manner.

The St Matthew Passion is set for two choirs and two orchestras. Both include two transverse flutes (Choir 1 also includes 2 recorders for No. 19), two oboes, in certain movements instead oboe d'amore or oboe da caccia, two violins, viola, viola da gamba, and basso continuo. For practical reasons the continuo organ is often shared and played with both orchestras. In many arias a solo instrument or more create a specific mood, such as the central soprano aria No. 49, "Aus Liebe will mein Heiland sterben", where the absence of strings and basso continuo mark a desperate loss of security.

The Passion was written for two choruses and orchestras. Choir I consists of a soprano in ripieno voice, a soprano solo, an alto solo, a tenor solo, SATB chorus, two traversos, two oboes, two oboes d'amore, two oboes da caccia, lute, strings (two violin sections, violas and cellos), and continuo (at least organ). Choir II consists of SATB voices, violin I, violin II, viola, viola da gamba, cello, two traversos, two oboes (d'amore) and possibly continuo.

Source: Wikipedia (

I created this arrangement of the Aria: “So ist mein Jesus nun gefangen” (Thus my Jesus is now captured) for Woodwinds (Flute & Oboe) & Strings (2 Violins, Viola & Cello).
Found in Community


United Methodist Church

1 discussion • 378 scores • 46 members


The underlying hyperlinks for the automatically-generated names (e.g., @Mike Magatagan") in posted comments/replies, contain invalid hyperlinks.For example: on a reply to an "Improving" comment, the user name printed at the beginning of the comment contains an invalid reference (e.g., instead of the actual )
This concerns one specific score by @Mike Magatagan namely the score you click "Download" and choose "PDF including Parts"  the returned document is not a PDF but a "Not Found" error in XML format such as:  <Error><Code>NoSuchKey</Code><Message>The specified key does not exist.</Message><Key>3004231/8628087/18f138fc27/general-parts/score-parts.pdf</Key><RequestId>7C02B5365F83A247</RequestId><HostId>++UrE4WzPLQL6n4nqY64Q5aoi88wzvJjJqfSUqDiw2DSzJYIpfHzp0IE6RMQiDFkoGyv5AujhOA=</HostId></Error>All other export formats work fine.As a test I've downloaded that score in mscz format, opened it up with musescore 2.3.2 and used "Save online" to save it privately into my account (private url ). From there I can download the PDF with parts without issues.Mike already tried to "update" his score by resaving the score to his account; we were hoping this would force the musescore server to regenerate this PDF. Alas this seems to not work.Can someone on your end ( @Ximich or @abruhanov probably) debug this and/or force the server to generate that file?Thanks!

Aria: "Sanfte soll mein Todeskummer" (BWV 249 No 7) for Wind Quintet

5 parts10 pages05:243 years ago514 views
Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, French Horn, Bassoon
The Easter Oratorio (BWV 249) is an oratorio by Johann Sebastian Bach, beginning with Kommt, eilet und laufet ("Come, hasten and run"). Bach composed it in Leipzig and first performed it on 1 April 1725.

The first version of the work was completed as a cantata for Easter Sunday in Leipzig on 1 April 1725, then under the title Kommt, gehet und eilet. It was named "oratorio" and given the new title only in a version revised in 1735. In a later version in the 1740s the third movement was expanded from a duet to a four-part chorus. The work is based on a secular cantata, the so-called Shepherd Cantata Entfliehet, verschwindet, entweichet, ihr Sorgen, BWV 249a which is now lost, although the libretto survives. Its author is Picander who is also likely the author of the oratorio's text. The work is opened by two instrumental movements that are probably taken from a concerto of the Köthen period. It seems possible that the third movement is based on the concerto's finale.

Unlike the Christmas Oratorio, the Easter Oratorio has no narrator but has four characters assigned to the four voice parts: Simon Peter (tenor) and John the Apostle (bass), appearing in the first duet hurrying to Jesus' grave and finding it empty, meeting there Mary Magdalene (alto) and "the other Mary", Mary Jacobe (soprano). The choir was present only in the final movement until a later performance in the 1740s when the opening duet was set partly for four voices. The music is festively scored for three trumpets, timpani, two oboes, oboe d'amore, bassoon, two recorders, transverse flute, two violins, viola and continuo.

Source: Wikipedia (

I created this arrangement of the Aria: "Sanfte soll mein Todeskummer" (Gentle shall my death-throes be) for Wind Quintet (Flute, Oboe, Bb Clarinet, French Horn & Bassoon).

Prelude & Fugue in C Minor (BWV 549) for Mandolin & Guitars

4 parts10 pages05:252 years ago514 views
This Prelude and Fugue in C minor probably dates to the earlier part of Bach's years in Arnstadt, where he served as the organist at the Neue Kirche. The work likely came before for his intense study of the music of Buxtehude, an activity he commenced in 1705. While not as well-crafted as many of the later Preludes and Fugues, this one is nevertheless rewarding for the listener, not least for the composer's trademark brilliant contrapuntal writing.

The Prelude half of the work begins in a rather austere mood, the theme presented in the lower register, its contour tilting mostly downward. The music here foreshadows the opening of the famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565, replete with a similar three-note idea permeating the first measures. The mood brightens a bit when the writing enters higher ranges, the music becoming somewhat stately but still not quite dispelling its somber character. The Fugue begins quietly and modestly, building energetically from skeletal, unassuming textures at the outset to meatier but still lean sonorities in the latter portions. The mood here does not substantially break from the darkness and seriousness of the opening, though the mixture of brilliance and busyness, of rhythmic and persevering drive in the writing imparts a resolute, triumphant sense, especially in the glorious ending. This Prelude and Fugue in C minor typically lasts just over five minutes.

Source: Allmusic (

Although originally composed for Organ, I created this modern interpretation for Mandolin & Guitars (Mandolin & 3 Classical Guitars).
"Night on Bald Mountain" (IMM 43) for Small Orchestra
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"Night on Bald Mountain" (IMM 43) for Small Orchestra

16 parts76 pages09:574 months ago519 views
Piccolo, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, English Horn, Bassoon, Trumpet(2), French Horn, Tuba, Timpani, Violin(2), Viola, Cello, Contrabass
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky (1839 – 1881) was a Russian composer, one of the group known as "The Five". He was an innovator of Russian music in the romantic period. He strove to achieve a uniquely Russian musical identity, often in deliberate defiance of the established conventions of Western music. Many of his works were inspired by Russian history, Russian folklore, and other national themes. Such works include the opera Boris Godunov, the orchestral tone poem Night on Bald Mountain and the piano suite Pictures at an Exhibition.

For many years Mussorgsky's works were mainly known in versions revised or completed by other composers. Many of his most important compositions have posthumously come into their own in their original forms, and some of the original scores are now also available. In a July 5, 1867 letter to Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, Modest Mussorgsky wrote "(I have) finished St. John's Night on Bald Mountain, a musical picture with the following program: (1) assembly of the witches, their chatter and gossip; (2) cortege of Satan; (3) unholy gratification of Satan; and (4) witches' sabbath." Mussorgsky proclaims "in form and character my composition is Russian and original. Its tone is hot and chaotic.... St. John's Night is something new and is bound to produce a satisfactory impression...."

The impression was not so satisfactory for Mily Balakirev, who rejected the work in 1869 from consideration for a Free School concert. Balakirev sent the manuscript back to Mussorgsky bearing handwritten marks such as the comment "Rubbish!" in the margins. Later, under the spell of Liszt's Totentanz, Mussorgsky considered refashioning the movement as a piano/orchestral work, but nothing came of this plan.

In May 1877, Mussorgsky drew up the scenario of his comic opera Sorochintsy Fair, proposing an extensive revision of the St. John's Night music as an Intermezzo opening the third act. Mussorgsky completed this part of the opera in 1880, retaining music from (1) and (3) of the original work, and adding new material. Identified as "Dream of the Young Peasant Lad," this also had a new program: as a boy dreams on a hill, he is threatened by inhuman voices and finds himself mocked in the realm of shadows. The voices warn of the Devil and the "Black God" Chernobog; as the shadows fade, both appear. Chernobog is glorified, a Black Mass is sung, and a Witches' Sabbath breaks out. As a church bell intones, Chernobog disappears and the demons writhe in agony. A church choir sings, the demons fade away, awakening the boy. Mussorgsky was never to complete Sorochintsy Fair.

In 1867 letter quoted above, Mussorgsky wrote Rimsky-Korsakov "I should like us to examine the orchestration together (...) we might clear up many things." Rimsky-Korsakov fulfilled his end of the bargain in 1886, five years after Mussorgsky's death, in producing Night on Bald Mountain (also "Night on the Bare Mountain"). This was the "Lad's Dream" music, minus its choral parts and with its abrupt, dramatic effectual "stings" removed. The first half of the second section was removed, and Rimsky-Korsakov dropped most of the major-key material save a brief fanfare figure. The whole work was subjected to a streamlining of orchestration and meter, and divided into symmetrical sections. Rimsky-Korsakov has often been accused of "composing" the "Matins Bell" section that concludes Bald Mountain, but in truth the music is all Mussorgsky's save the final flute trio at the very end. The Rimsky-Korsakov edition was an immediate worldwide success from the day it was launched and helped to establish Mussorgsky's name. It remains the most popular version of Mussorgsky's famous piece, although the original versions are available in modern editions and are revived to acclaim as well. Some conductors, such as Claudio Abbado and Esa-Pekka Salonen, have made personal specialties of the 1867 version.

Source: AllMusic ( ).

Although originally created for full orchestra, I created this Interpretation of the "Night on Bald Mountain" A symphonic poem (IMM 43) for Small Orchestra (Piccolo, Flute, Oboe, Bb Clarinet, English Horn, Bassoon, Bb Trumpet, Flugelhorn, French Horn, Tuba, Timpani, Violins, Violas, Cellos & Bass).

Chorale: "Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten" (BWV 647) for Pipe Organ

6 parts2 pages03:122 years ago512 views
Organ, Other Woodwinds(4), Trumpet
Schübler Chorales is a name usually given to the Sechs Chorale von verschiedener Art ('Six Chorales of Various Kinds') for organ (BWV 645–650), a collection of six chorale preludes by Johann Sebastian Bach, issued around 1748. The title 'Schübler Chorales' derives from the engraver and publisher Johann Georg Schübler, who is named on the title page. All six of the preludes are for an organ with two manuals and pedal, at least five of them transcribed from movements in Bach's cantatas, mostly chorale cantatas.

Since no source has been found for BWV 646, most scholars assume that the source cantata is one of the 100 or so believed to have been lost. The trio scoring of the movement suggests the original may have been for violin, or possibly violins and violas in unison (right hand), and continuo (left hand), with the chorale (pedal) sung by soprano or alto.

Bach spent the last 27 years of his life as Cantor at the School of St. Thomas, in Leipzig, which effectively put him in charge of the city's religious music, for he supervised all five of the main churches. A "Chorale" or "Chorale Prelude" is an elaboration on a hymn tune, with the main melody being clearly stated and perceivable by the average church-goer. This is so that when the hymn itself is sung a bit later in the service, the congregation would already have heard the tune. This lot of six of them got their collective name for the simple reason that an acquaintance of Bach's, one J.G. Schübler, published them. Bach seems to have chosen them to represent a variety of techniques, to be suitable for the amateur market, but to possess sufficient technical and musical demands to make playing them interesting. In short, they might well have been picked because the composer thought they had variety and popular appeal. For these reasons, they make an excellent introduction to Bach's organ music in general and to the chorale prelude form in particular.

The fact that Bach had gone to the trouble and expense of securing the services of a master engraver to produce a collection of note-for-note transcriptions of this kind indicates that he did not regard the Schübler Chorales as a minor piece of hack-work, but as a significant public statement. These six chorales provide an approachable version of the music of the cantatas through the more marketable medium of keyboard transcriptions. Virtually all Bach's cantatas were unpublished in his lifetime.

This particular prelude (BWV 647) "Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten" is based on the central duet of the cantata of the same name, BWV 93. Bach had written that chorale cantata in Leipzig for the fifth Sunday after Trinity and first performed it in 1724. It is based on an hymn by Georg Neumark

Source: Wikipedia (

I created this transcription of the Schübler Chorale (BWV 647) "Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten" (Who allows God alone to rule him) for Pipe Organ with the Organ Registration assistance of Bernard Greenberg (user:

Aria: "Wann kommst du, mein Heil" (BWV 104 No 3) for Oboe & Harp

2 parts8 pages04:513 years ago512 views
Oboe, Harp
Du Hirte Israel, höre (You Shepherd of Israel, hear), BWV 104, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it for the second Sunday after Easter in Leipzig and first performed it on 23 April 1724.

Bach composed the cantata in his first annual cycle in Leipzig for the second Sunday after Easter, called Misericordias Domini, and first performed it on 23 April 1724.

The prescribed readings for that Sunday were from the First Epistle of Peter, Christ as a model (1 Peter 2:21–25), and from the Gospel of John, the Good Shepherd (John 10:11–16). The unknown poet begins with Psalms 80:2 and ends with Cornelius Becker's hymn "Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt", a paraphrase of Psalm 23 (1598). The poet refers in his work to more Bible context, such as Lamentations 3:23–25 and 1 Corinthians 10:13 for the first recitative, reflecting that God as the Good Shepherd will take care. In the second recitative, he concludes: "Only gather, o good Shepherd, us poor and erring ones; ah, let our journey soon reach an end and lead us into your sheepfold!" The last aria hopes "for faith's reward after a gentle sleep of death" (John 10:11–16, des Glaubens Lohn nach einem sanften Todesschlafe), combining the Baroque ideas of pastoral peace and longing for death.

Bach referred to the Pastorale aspect of the text in his music. In the opening chorus three oboes on the firm ground of extended pedal point create pastoral sounds, in triplets which are frequently associated with shepherds, such as in the Sinfonia opening Part II of Bach's Christmas Oratorio. The choir sings alternating homophonic calls, "höre!" (listen!) and "erscheine!" (appear!), and two fugues on the image of Joseph leading his flocks. The fugue subject is the same in both fugues, but the second time the voices enter from the lowest voice to the highest, culminating in an ultimate third section of the calls. Different from the normal setting, the instrumental introduction is not repeated after this climax.

The first recitative leads to an arioso part on the final Bible quotation "Gott ist getreu" (God is faithful). The tenor aria is accompanied by two oboes d'amore. In the bass aria, instrumentation, triplets and extended pedal points are reminiscent of the opening chorus. The closing choral is a four-part setting on the tune of "Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr".

Although originally scored for tenor and bass soloists, a four-part choir, two oboes d'amore, taille (tenor oboe), two violins, viola and basso continuo, I created this arrangement for Oboe & Concert (Pedal) Harp and it is best played using the "GeneralUser GS.sf2" Soundfont by S. Christian Collins Software (

"3 Gradualia" for Winds & Strings

8 parts5 pages03:535 years ago512 views
Roman Catholic Marian music shares a trait with some other forms of Christian music in adding another emotional dimension to the process of veneration and in being used in various Marian ceremonies and feasts. Marian music is now an inherent element in many aspects of the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Roman Catholic Mariology.

Throughout the centuries Marian music has grown and progressed, and witnessed a resurgence along with the Renaissance, e.g. with the composition of the Ave Maria motet by Josquin des Prez. The tradition continued with a number of great composers up to the late 19th century, e.g. with Giuseppe Verdi's Ave Maria in 1880 followed by his Laudi alla Vergine Maria.

The Gradual (Latin: graduale) is a chant or hymn in the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist for many Christian denominations. In the Tridentine Mass it was and is sung after the reading or chanting of the Epistle and before the Alleluia, or, during penitential seasons, before the Tract. In the Mass of Paul VI the gradual corresponds to the Responsorial Psalm. There is the option to replace this psalm with the gradual, but its use is extremely rare. It is part of the Proper of the Mass.

Little is know about the Czech composer Josef Capka Drahlovský (1848-1926) and although originally created for accompanied chorus, I created this arrangement for Woodwind Quartet (Flutes, Oboes, Bb Clarinet & Bassoon) and Strings (Violins (2), Viola & Cello) and it is best played using the "GeneralUser GS.sf2" Soundfont by S. Christian Collins Software (

"Kyrie Eleison" from the Mass in F Major (BWV 233 No. 1) for Brass & Strings

7 parts9 pages03:542 years ago512 views
Trumpet, French Horn, Tuba, Violin(2), Viola, Cello
Church music in Latin by Johann Sebastian Bach comprises about ten compositions, all composed during his Leipzig period. As a Lutheran church musician, Bach was more devoted to the composition of sacred music in German, writing hundreds of liturgical compositions in that language, and for instance also producing a German version of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater. Compared to Lutheran practice elsewhere, an uncharacteristic amount of Latin was however used in church services in Leipzig: it included music on Latin texts being performed on ordinary Sundays, on high holidays (Christmas, Easter, Pentecost), and the Magnificat also on Marian feasts (Annunciation, Visitation, Purification).

In Lutheran service, a Missa was a setting of only Kyrie and Gloria. Such a mass consisting of only Kyrie and Gloria is for that time period sometimes indicated as Missa brevis (literally: "short mass"). In 1733 Bach composed such a Missa brevis for the Catholic court in Dresden, however in an extended setting. In the late 1730s he again composed four Missae breves, mostly parodies of earlier cantata movements. At the end of his life he expanded the Missa for Dresden to his only setting of the complete Mass ordinary, the Mass in B minor.

Bach wrote four other settings of Kyrie and Gloria, sometimes called Missa brevis. The attribute brevis in this case means short in words, unlike the Missa brevis of the classical period which is short in duration. Sometimes the works are termed Lutheran mass, because the combination of only Kyrie and Gloria was used more frequently in the Lutheran liturgy.

They seem to have been intended for liturgical use, considering a performance time of about 20 minutes each, the average duration of a Bach cantata. They may have been composed around 1738/39. Possibly they were written for Count Franz Anton von Sporck or performed by him in Lysá.

Each Missa is in six movements, the Kyrie one choral movement in three sections, the Gloria in five movements. The first and last movement of the Gloria are also choral, framing three arias for different voice types. The music consists mostly of parodies of cantata movements. He changed the music slightly to adjust to the Latin words, but kept the original instrumentation. The opening chorus of Es wartet alles auf dich, BWV 187, became the final movement of the Missa in G minor, Cum sancto spiritu. Occasionally he switched a voice part, for example he asked for a tenor in the Quoniam of that Missa, a parody of the soprano aria Halt ich nur fest an ihm of that cantata.

For the Missa in F major, BWV 233, scored for horns, oboes, bassoon, strings, SATB, and basso continuo, Bach derived most of the six movements from earlier cantatas as parodies.

Source: Wikipedia ('s_church_music_in_Latin#Settings_of_.28parts_of.29_the_Latin_mass_liturgy).

I created this arrangement of the "Kyrie Eleison" (Lord have Mercy) for Brass (Bb Trumpet, French Horn & Euphonium) & Strings (2 Violins, Viola & Cello).

Chorus: "Christen, ätzet diesen Tag" (BWV 63 No 1) for Small Orchestra

13 parts22 pages05:493 years ago513 views
Trumpet(3), French Horn, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Timpani, Violin(2), Viola, Cello
Christen, ätzet diesen Tag (Christians, engrave this day), BWV 63, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed the Christmas cantata for the First Day of Christmas, possibly in 1713 for the Liebfrauenkirche in Halle. He performed it again for his first Christmas as Thomaskantor in Leipzig, on 25 December 1723.

The cantata is Bach's earliest extant cantata for Christmas, possibly composed in Weimar as early as 1713. The text of the cantata, which echoes theologians in Halle, suggests that it was composed with Halle's Liebfrauenkirche in mind, in 1713, when Bach applied to be organist of this church, or in 1716, when he was involved in rebuilding its organ. The text is possibly by that church's 'Pastor primarius' Johann Michael Heineccius, who also wrote the libretti for other Bach cantatas definitely written for Halle and had favoured Bach's application for organist at the church as a successor to Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow. Musicologist Christoph Wolff deducts from the "lavish forces" of four trumpets, timpani and three oboes on top of the strings, an unprecedented scoring in Bach's cantatas, that the work was not composed for the intimate Schloßkirche in Weimar. He dates it as 1714 or 1715. According to John Eliot Gardiner, the first performance may have taken place in Weimar in the church of St. Peter und Paul, performed by the combined musicians of the ducal Capelle and the town. The lack of a closing chorale, which closes most of Bach's later cantatas, has raised the question if the work is based on a secular cantata.

The cantata has a festive character but lacks certain features typically associated with Christmas music, such as Pastoral music, angels' song and cradle song, even a Christmas carol or chorale, as Gardiner words it: "The cantata contains none of the usual Nativity themes: no cradle song, no music for the shepherds or for the angels, not even the standard Christmas chorales". The symmetry of the text around the recitative "Nun kehret sich das bange Leid … in lauter Heil und Gnaden" (So now, today, the anxious sorrow is changed … into pure blessing and grace) is reflected in the music. The recitatives lean toward arioso at times, typical for Bach's music in the period. The choral movements show da capo form, but with distinctly contrasting middle sections, which relates to motet style. Wolff describes these movements as "fanfare-like frameworks", a cantabile choral setting contrasting with virtuoso orchestral playing in "secular dance".

Gardiner observes that the first recitative for alto, accompanied by the strings, contains "tortuous passage[s] in which voice and continuo struggle to free themselves from "Satan's slavish chains"". The cantata contains two duets, rare in Bach's cantatas, likely an expression of communal rejoicing which is expressed better in a duet than by a single voice. The second duet is a minuet, illustrating the words "Kommt, ihr Christen, kommt zum Reihen" (Come, you Christians, come to dance). Instead of the usual closing chorale, the cantata ends with a chorus "conceived on the largest of scales", full of energy. The trumpets begin with pompous fanfares, the voices first sing a fanfare, addressing the "highest", then open a permutation fugue which is later expanded by instrumental doubling and counteraction, to express the thanks of the devout souls. The middle section is a second fugue in similar style which ends with a "preposterous collective trill" on the word "quälen" (torment), observed by Mincham as "a passage of extraordinary intensity. The tempo slows, the harmony becomes tragic and chromatic and the whole feeling is that of deepest melancholy at the very thought of Satan’s embrace". Then a da capo of the complete first section ends the cantata on "the original celebratory flourishes of the complete ritornello theme".

In one of the later performances Bach changed the part of obbligato oboe in movement 3 to an organ, writing it himself in the part for the continuo organ.

The cantata in seven movements is festively scored for four vocal soloists (soprano, alto, tenor, and bass), a four-part choir, four trumpets, timpani, three oboes, bassoon, two violins, viola, organ in a later version, and continuo.

Source: Wikipedia (,_%C3%A4tzet_diesen_Tag,_BWV_63).

I created this arrangement for Small Orchestra (Bb Piccolo Trumpet, Bb Trumpet, Flugelhorn, French Horn, Flute, Oboe, Bb Clarinet, Timpani, 2 Violins, Viola & Cello).

"Gymnopedie 2" for Viola & Guitar

2 parts2 pages02:442 years ago516 views
Viola, Guitar
Erik Satie's Gymnopédie #2. Satie's Gymnopedies are what many consider to be the groundwork for today's ambient music; it's as ignorable as it is interesting (although, I find it hard to ignore such great music). These three beautiful pieces for solo piano are calming, reflective, ethereal, relaxing, soothing, and elegant.

Gymnopedie No. 2, although sharing the same short-long accompaniment in the left hand, the mood of this piece is entirely different from No. 1 and 3. Its lack of a commitment to a steady key leads the melody on a nebulous path wandering aimlessly through a series of chords.

Although originally created for Solo Piano, I created this arrangement for Viola and Classical Guitar.

Aria: "Se Fiera" (HWV 19) for Woodwind Quintet

5 parts6 pages05:585 years ago511 views
George Frideric Handel (1685 - 1685) was a German-born British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Handel was born in 1685, in a family indifferent to music. He received critical musical training in Halle, Hamburg and Italy before settling in London (1712) and becoming a naturalised British subject in 1727. By then he was strongly influenced by the great composers of the Italian Baroque and the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition.

Handel is regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time, with works such as Water Music, Music for the Royal Fireworks and Messiah remaining popular. Handel composed more than forty operas in over thirty years, and since the late 1960s, with the revival of baroque music and original instrumentation, interest in Handel's operas has grown. His operas contain remarkable human characterisation, especially for a composer not known for his love affairs.

Rodelinda, regina de' Longobardi (HWV 19) is an opera seria in three acts composed for the first Royal Academy of Music by George Frideric Handel. The libretto is by Nicola Francesco Haym, and was based on an earlier libretto by Antonio Salvi set by Giacomo Antonio Perti in 1710. Salvi's libretto originated with Pierre Corneille's play Pertharite, roi des Lombards (1653), based on the history of Perctarit, king of the Lombards in the 7th century.

Although originally written for Opera, I created this arrangement for Woodwind Quintet (Flute, Oboe, Bb Clarinet, French Horn & Bassoon) and it is best played using the "GeneralUser GS.sf2" Soundfont by S. Christian Collins Software (

Kyrie from "Missa Philippina" for Woodwind Quintet

5 parts1 page02:065 years ago512 views
Manuel Cardoso (1566-1650) was born in Fronteira (near Portalegre), 1566 and died in Lisbon 24 November 1650. He studied grammar and music at Évora Cathedral from 1574 (or 1575), being probably a pupil of Manuel Mendes.

On 1 July 1588 he enters to the Carmelite order, at the Convento do Carmo, Lisbon and professed on 5 July 1589. There he became mestre de capela and sub-prior becoming famous for his musical gifts and religious virtue.

In 1605 he publishes his first book of masses, dedicating it to the Duque de Barcelos, future D. João IV (who kept a portrait of the composer in his music library). The second book of masses and the Livro de Varios motets are also dedicated to the Portuguese king. Cardoso also secured the patronage of Philip IV of Spain, dedicating to him his third book of masses which ends with a Missa Philippina, a composition that had been proposed to Cardoso by the mestre of the Royal Chapel, Mateo Romero. Cardoso travelled to Madrid in 1631 and was generously rewarded by the king.

Cardoso’s music comes in the good continuity of traditional contrapuntal techniques, as we may seen in his first book of masses (where the five masses are a parody of motets by Palestrina), with virtuosic canons. His seven masses on the theme “Ab initio” shows another type of virtuosic skill. He also uses chromatic inflexions and diminished and augmented vertical intervals that cause a high coloured and expressive language. His rhythmic technique remains in the style of the stile antico although he sometimes introduces passages of declamation using crotchets and quavers. This is most clearly seen in the Lamentations settings and in the lessons from the Office of the Dead.

Although originally written for Chorus (SATB), I created this arrangement for Woodwind Quintet (Flute, Oboe, Bb Clarinet, French Horn & Bassoon) and It is best played using the "GeneralUser GS.sf2" Soundfont by S. Christian Collins Software (

"Are You Sleeping?" for Piano

1 part1 page01:022 years ago516 views
"Frère Jacques" in English called "Are You Sleeping?," "Brother John" "I Hear Thunder" or "Brother Peter", is a French nursery melody. The song is traditionally sung in a round.

The translation of "Frère" would be "Friar" in this case, because this song is about Jacques, a religious monk. In English the word Friar is probably derived from the French word frère ("brother" in English), as French was still widely used in official circles in England during the 13th century when the four great orders of Friars started. The French word frère in turn comes from the Latin word frater (which also means "brother").

The Matins mentioned in the literal translation refers to the midnight or very early morning prayers for which a monk would be expected to wake.

A possible connection between Frère Jacques and the 17th century lithotomist Frère Jacques Beaulieu (also known as Frère Jacques Baulot), as claimed by Irvine Loudon and many others, was explored by J. P. Ganem and C. C. Carson[4] without finding any evidence for a connection.

Francesca Draughon and Raymond Knapp argue that Frère Jacques originally was a song to taunt Jews or Protestants or Martin Luther (see Frère Jacques in popular culture).

Martine David and A. Marie Delrieu suggest that Frère Jacques might have been created to mock the Dominican monks, known in France as the Jacobin order, for their sloth and comfortable lifestyles.

In a review of a book about Kozma Prutkov, Richard Gregg notes it has been claimed that Frère Jacques Frère Jacques was derived from a Russian seminary song about a "Father Theofil".

I created this arrangement for Piano at the request of a listener.

"Fürchte Dich Nicht, Ich Bin Bei Dir" (BWV 228) for Woodwind Quartet

8 parts16 pages09:066 years ago510 views
Flute(2), Oboe(2), Clarinet(2), Bassoon(2)
There are five extant motets firmly attributed to Bach -- a small number compared with his huge output of cantatas. Whereas the more plentiful cantatas served a liturgical purpose, the Lutheran church had no need of such short choral works, utilizing instead the large stock of motets already available in Leipzig and elsewhere. Bach's motets were therefore all composed for special occasions in Leipzig, primarily funerals -- events particularly suited to such serious contrapuntal compositions.

The text of BWV 228 ("Be not afraid, for I am with thee") clearly marks it out as falling within this category, although the exact circumstances for which it was composed remain unknown. Taken from two verses from chapters 41 and 43 of Isaiah and the hymn "Warum sollt ich mich denn grämen" by Paul Gerhardt, the text is divided into three interlinked sections; the opening phrase acts as a link that gives the motet strong structural coherence. Certain stylistic features of the writing suggest that the work may have originated earlier than Bach's time in Leipzig. It is scored for two four-part choruses, possibly intended to be supported by continuo bass (the original score was lost, leaving some issues of instrumentation open to question).

The motet opens with a largely homophonic eight-part chorus that introduces some striking dissonant harmony; this gives way to a more lightly scored four-part chorus, in which the hymn tune is heard in long notes in the soprano line. Later the eight-part opening phrase again returns, now embellished by the second stanza of the hymn.

Source: Wikipedia (,_BWV_228).

I created this arrangement of the Chorus "Fürchte dich nicht, ich bin bei dir" (Do not fear, I am with you) for Double Woodwind Quartet (Flute, Oboe, Bb Clarinet and Bassoon).

Allemande & Courante in A Major (BWV 838) for Violin & Cello

2 parts2 pages02:46a year ago512 views
Violin, Cello
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity. Although he did not introduce new forms, he enriched the prevailing German style with a robust contrapuntal technique, an unrivalled control of harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France.

The Suites and suite movements (BWV 832–845) are a miscellaneous collections of suites (partitas) and miscellaneous movements of authentic and spurious works.

Two movements from the Partita in A Major (GWV 849) by Johann Christoph Graupner were formerly catalogued as the Allemande and Courante in A major (BWV 838) and attributed to J. S. Bach.

Source: IMSLP (,_BWV_832%E2%80%93845_(Bach,_Johann_Sebastian)).

Although originally written for Harpsichord. I created this Arrangement of the Allemande & Courante in A Major (BWV 838) for Violin & Cello.

Concerto in G Major (BWV 973) for Violin & Harp

2 parts12 pages07:29a year ago518 views
Violin, Harp
In late spring 1713, the young prince Johann Ernst returned from his studies at the University of Utrecht to his home at the court at Weimar, where Johann Sebastian Bach was employed as organist. At this time, the prince is believed to have commissioned a series of keyboard works from Bach based on preexisting concertos by other composers. He had heard, during a recent visit to Amsterdam, organist Jan Jacob de Graaf realize solo works and several Italian concertos. Bach subsequently transcribed 16 concertos for various instruments as solo keyboard pieces, using as his source material compositions by Torelli, Marcello, and even Prince Johann Ernst himself -- and of course, the acknowledged master of the genre, Antonio Vivaldi. The latter composer's work provided the basis for the lion's share of the concerto transcriptions from this period, including the work under consideration here, Bach's Concerto No. 2 in G major (BWV 973). Bach based the BWV 973 solo concerto on Vivaldi's Concerto for violin and strings, Op. 7/2, from the second volume of the Concerti a 5 stromenti. (Johann Ernst appears to have gone to the trouble of acquiring a manuscript copy of the work, since the Op. 7 did not appear in print until 1720.) Bach retained the key of the original and left Vivaldi's structure more or less intact. The piece is cast in the three characteristic movements of modest length, two outer fast movements framing the central Largo. The opening movement is built of running sequences based on thirds and fourths, its linear drive idiomatic to the violin but certainly not foreign to the harpsichord; the tutti and solo sections of the original are observed through contrasting chordal and contrapuntal textures. The voice of the original violin can be detected most distinctly in the rapid rising and falling arpeggios of the third solo passage, the jagged melodic contour evoking nimble bowing motions. The non-sustained tone of the harpsichord compels Bach, in the slow E minor movement that follows, to substitute for the violin's inherent fluidity and lyricism the languorous ornamental effects afforded by the keyboard's action. The final movement, returning to the bright G minor key, has more energy and insistence. The solo line builds upon quick, repeat rising gestures and reiterated notes, weaving its way through the keyboard texture as the piece progresses toward its close.

Source: AllMusic (

Although originally written for Harpsichord. I created this Arrangement of the Concerto in G Major (BWV 973) for Violin & Concert (Pedal) Harp.

Aria: "Herr, dein Mitleid, dein Erbarmen" (BWV 248 No 29) for Oboe & Strings

5 parts8 pages07:403 years ago510 views
Oboe, Violin(2), Viola, Cello
The Christmas Oratorio BWV 248, is an oratorio by Johann Sebastian Bach intended for performance in church during the Christmas season. It was written for the Christmas season of 1734 incorporating music from earlier compositions, including three secular cantatas written during 1733 and 1734 and a now lost church cantata, BWV 248a. The date is confirmed in Bach's autograph manuscript. The next performance was not until 17 December 1857 by the Sing-Akademie zu Berlin under Eduard Grell. The Christmas Oratorio is a particularly sophisticated example of parody music. The author of the text is unknown, although a likely collaborator was Christian Friedrich Henrici (Picander).

It was conceived as a set of six cantatas. Unlike the Passion settings and the oratorios of Bach's exact contemporary Handel, the six parts of his Christmas Oratorio were performed on separate days. Bach wrote the six cantatas to celebrate the whole period of the Christmas festivities of 1734-35, starting with Part I on Christmas Day, and ending with Part VI on Epiphany (January 6th). The performances were divided between his two churches: Parts I, II, IV and VI were given at the Thomaskirche, and Parts III and V at the Nicolaikirche.

Bach wrote the Christmas Oratorio over a short period. Unusually for him, but perhaps by necessity, he recycled music from earlier compositions. At least eleven sections have been identified as coming from three earlier secular cantatas, with Bach working with his frequent collaborator Picander to alter the texts for their new use. It is thought that several more sections may be based on lost sacred works, including the documented but now lost St Mark Passion. Bach also composed new music for much of the piece, including all of the recitatives and chorales.

Source: Wikipedia (

I created this arrangement of the Aria: "Herr, dein Mittleid, dein Erbarmen Tröstet uns und macht uns frei" (Lord, your compassion, your mercy comforts us and makes us free) for Oboe & Strings (2 Violins, Viola & Cello).

Aria: "Leget euch dem Heiland unter" (BWV 182 No 5) for Flute, French Horn & Cello

3 parts3 pages04:114 years ago510 views
Himmelskönig, sei willkommen (King of Heaven, welcome), BWV 182, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it in Weimar for Palm Sunday, and first performed it on 25 March 1714, which was also the feast of the Annunciation that year.

In Weimar, Bach was the court organist of Johann Ernst von Sachsen-Weimar. On 2 March 1714, he was promoted to Konzertmeister, an honour which included a monthly performance of a church cantata in the Schloßkirche. According to Bach scholar Alfred Dürr, this cantata is Bach's first cantata for the court of Weimar, in a series which was meant to cover all Sundays within four years. It preceded Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen, BWV 12. Bach first performed it in the Schlosskirche on Palm Sunday, 25 March 1714. Other than in Leipzig, where tempus clausum was observed during Lent and no cantatas were permitted, Bach could perform in Weimar a cantata especially meant for the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The prescribed readings for the day were from the Epistle to the Philippians, "everyone be in the spirit of Christ" (Philippians 2:5--11), or from the First Epistle to the Corinthians, "of the Last Supper" (1 Corinthians 11:23--32), and from the Gospel of Matthew, the entry into Jerusalem (Philippians 2:5--11).

The poetry was written by the court poet Salomon Franck, although the work is not found in his printed editions. Bach's biographer Philipp Spitta concluded this from stylistic comparison and observing a lack of recitatives between arias. The poetry derives from the entry into Jerusalem a similar entry into the heart of the believer, who should prepare himself and will be given heavenly joy in return. The language intensifies the mystical aspects: "Himmelskönig" (King of Heaven), "Du hast uns das Herz genommen" (You have taken our hearts from us), "Leget euch dem Heiland unter" (Lay yourselves beneath the Savior). The chorale in movement 7 is the final stanza 33 of Paul Stockmann's hymn for Passiontide "Jesu Leiden, Pein und Tod" (1633).

A da capo sign after the last aria in some parts suggests that originally the cantata was meant to be concluded by a repeat of the opening chorus.

As Bach could not perform the cantata in Leipzig on Palm Sunday, he used it on the feast of Annunciation on 25 March 1724, which had coincided with Palm Sunday for the first performance. He performed it in Leipzig two more times.

The cantata is intimately scored to match the church building. An instrumental Sonata in the rhythm of a French Overture depicts the arrival of the King. (In his cantata Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 61, for Advent that same year on the same reading, Bach went further and set a chorus in the form of such an overture). The recorder and a solo violin are accompanied by pizzicato in the divided violas and the continuo. The first chorus is in da capo form, beginning with a fugue, which leads to a homophonic conclusion. The middle section contains two similar canonic developments.

The following Bible quote is set as the only recitative of the cantata. It is given to the bass as the vox Christi (voice of Christ) and expands to an arioso. The instrumentation of the three arias turns from the crowd in the Biblical scene to the individual believer, the first accompanied by violin and divided violas, the second by a lone recorder, the last only by the continuo.

The chorale is arranged in the manner of Pachelbel; every line is first prepared in the lower voices, then the soprano sings the cantus firmus, while the other voices interpret the words, for example by fast movement on "Freude" (joy). The closing chorus is, according to conductor John Eliot Gardiner, "a sprightly choral dance that could have stepped straight out of a comic opera of the period".

Although this cantata was scored for alto, tenor, and bass soloists, a four-part choir, recorder, two violins, two violas and basso continuo, I created this arrangement for Flute, French Horn & Cello and it is best played using the "GeneralUser GS.sf2" Soundfont by S. Christian Collins Software (

Sinfonia (Tutti): "Gott ist mein König" (BWV 71 No 1) for Small Orchestra

17 parts8 pages04:313 years ago510 views
Trumpet(3), Flute(2), Oboe(2), Clarinet, English Horn, French Horn, Tuba, Bassoon, Timpani, Violin(2), Viola, Cello
Gott ist mein König (God is my king), BWV 71, is a cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it in Mühlhausen for an annual church service that was held to celebrate the inauguration of the new city council on 4 February 1708. It is one of the six earliest cantatas Bach composed (along with BWV 150, 131, 106, 196 and 4) that are still extant. Like these other works, the text of BWV 71 is of a pre-Neumeister character, featuring neither recitative nor arias.

From 1707 to 1708, Bach was the organist of one of Mühlhausen's principal churches, Divi Blasii church (dedicated to St Blaise also called Blaise the Divine), where he composed some of his earliest surviving cantatas. (One or two cantatas, for example Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich, BWV 150, may have been written at Arnstadt, his previous residence, for performance at Mühlhausen.) Gott ist mein König, along with another cantata (now lost) composed the following year, was written for the annual service that took place on February 4, the day after the city held elections to install a new city council.

Gott ist mein König is a significant early work of Bach. It differs from the other extant cantatas from Bach's time in Mühlhausen by its elaborate instrumentation. Bach went on to compose other cantatas for the ratswechsel for the town council at Leipzig, which also had a "festive" scoring, but Gott ist mein König differs from them too: very few of the formal characteristics of Bach's Leipzig cantatas (still some fifteen years in the future) are found in this early work.

It was so positively received that it was the first of Bach's works to be printed (paid for by the city council); it is the only cantata to have been printed in his lifetime, at least in a version which has survived to this day. (Bach was commissioned to compose another cantata for the following year's council inauguration; there is evidence that the piece was composed and even printed, but no copies are known to survive). The printing is all the more remarkable as the council changed every year, and Gott ist mein König appears to have been intended for not more than one repeat performance.

The cantata is scored for four soloists: soprano, alto, tenor and bass. The choral writing is in four parts, and the work can be sung with just four singers, although some performances deploy more singers in the choral sections. The use of a larger choir is partly a question of balance with the instrumental forces, but there is also supporting evidence in the score, where a marking implies that Bach envisaged the option of a vocal ensemble that is separate from the four soloists.

This was Bach's first cantata for festive orchestra, including trumpets and timpani. The instruments are divided into four spatially separated "choirs", placing the work in the polychoral tradition associated with composers such as Heinrich Schutz. The instruments required are three trumpets, timpani, two recorders, two oboes, bassoon, organ obbligato, two violins, viola, viola da gamba and basso continuo.

Source: Wikipedia (,_BWV_71).

I created this arrangement of the opening Sinfonia: G"ott ist mein König" (God is my king) for Small Orchestra (3 Bb Trumpets, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, Bb Clarinets, English Horn, French Horn, Bassoons, Timpani & Strings (Violins, Violas, Cellos & Basses).