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Passacaglia and Fugue in C-minor BWV 582

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for Wind Orchestra

COMPOSER/AUTHOR Johann Sebastian Bach
Arranger Franco Cesarini
WORK NO. BWV 582
PRODUCT CATEGORY Wind Orchestra
EDITION NO. EFC 004
GENRE Arrangement
DIFFICULTY GRADE 5-6
DURATION 12:45
YEAR OF RELEASE 2021
SERIES Classical Collection
PUBLISHER Edition Franco Cesarini

The Passacaglia is a set of instrumental variations based on an ostinato bass. Bach's Passacaglia and Fugue in C-minor for organ represents the pinnacle of what had been achieved in this compositional form at that time.
 
In Franco Cesarini’s arrangement for large wind orchestra, the particularly careful interpretation of the original piece enables him to exploit all the sound colors at his disposal, and in this sumptuous guise Bach's work also takes on a grandiose dimension, albeit tinged with late-Romanticism.
 
The exposition of the beautiful theme begins in the bass part, immediately creating a solemn and serious atmosphere which is accentuated by the intensely pathetic character of the first variations. Up to the tenth variation it remains confined to the bass, but in subsequent ones it also passes to the soprano and alto register. The integrity of the theme is also embellished with elegant arpeggios, in whose lower and higher extensions the theme can be distinguished. Towards the end it returns to the bass in an impressive thickening of the polyphonic texture that swiftly re-establishes the key of C-minor.

The "Thema fugatum" which follows immediately does not constitute a Fugue in its own right, rather it is nothing but the twenty-first and most extensive variation of the Passacaglia. This time Bach uses only the first half of the theme, superimposing a rhythmic countersubject that considerably enlivens the entire development of the composition. The polyphonic discourse becomes increasingly dense, until the building tension peaks in a powerful "Neapolitan sixth" chord, followed by a sudden pause. This culminating moment then leads to the coda and final cadence on a bright C-major chord.



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