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(Score - European A4, Parts - European A4)
In search of... STILLNESS - Kit Turnbull
Listen to Glenn Gould’s recording of this Gigue (Glenn Gould, Bach Vol. 5 for Sony Classical) and you are left in no doubt as to his virtuosity and technical ability. Taken at a blistering 220bpm, it is a fiery performance that sparkles from beginning to end.
As a very mediocre pianist, I have tried (in vain!) over the years to play this at a reasonable speed, but the progress of time convinced me that this was a futile effort. This aside, I found myself drawn to the piece’s harmonic structure and Bach’s effortless ability to lengthen phrases through harmonic movement, and so I decided to arrange it for chamber ensemble - Bach re-imagined, if you will.
While this arrangement omits the repeated sections, it adheres to the overall structure and musical content. Written pauses punctuate the flow of the music, briefly interrupting the momentum of Bach’s harmonic movement, as the piece moves inexorably towards the final chord - In search of stillness.
In March 2020 as the UK went in to lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it quickly became apparent that the musical world was changed for the foreseeable future, if not forever. Large-scale events were rapidly cancelled along with virtually all musical activities and so, as a freelance composer/arranger I found myself with a lot of spare time on my hands. I have long had the idea of scoring some of Bach’s keyboard works for winds, and this seemed like a perfect opportunity to begin.
The idea of re-titling the works in this series is simply a way of highlighting my thoughts / emotional response to the actual music. It also allowed me to really think about which of Bach’s works to include, and how to approach the task of arranging them.
I had originally planned to score these pieces for the same ensemble as Mozart’s Serenade No. 10 in B flat major, KV361 ‘Gran Partita’, but eventually decided on replacing the F Horns and Basset Horns, adding 2 flutes and a Saxophone quartet in their place. As with Mozart’s ‘Gran Partita’ the Double Bass could be replaced by a ContraBassoon if available.
While keeping to Bach’s original musical lines, the use of a larger ensemble allows for some expanded part writing, thereby making fuller use of the available forces, without resorting to simply doubling-up parts.
B flat Clarinet 1
B flat Clarinet 2
B flat Soprano Saxophone
E flat Alto Saxophone
B flat Tenor Saxophone
E flat Baritone Saxophone
B flat Bass Clarinet
C. 5 minutes