Bach in a New Light: Reimagining Three Keyboard Partitas for Double Reed Quartet

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My project is an arrangement and recording of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Keyboard Partitas Nos. 1, 3, and 4 (BWV 825, 827, and 828) for two oboes, English horn, and bassoon. I used the Bach Gesellschaft score to create the arrangement as new pieces of chamber music in the double reed repertoire, and professionally recorded this music for eventual commercial distribution. The on-campus recital on November 1, 2019 included all three arrangements. For both the recital and recording, I played the first oboe part alongside University of Maryland faculty members Mark Hill on second oboe, Joseph Grimmer on bassoon, and recent UMD DMA graduate Michael Homme on English horn. We call ourselves the Terpsichore Double Reed Consort.

My arrangements of these partitas from keyboard to double reed quartet allow the genius of Bach’s music to be appreciated in a new light. Phrases can be shaped and differentiated with dynamics that are not possible on the original harpsichord.

Pitches that could not be sustained on the keyboard can now be held for their full value, the resulting harmonies creating beautiful new sonorities. Additionally, Bach’s magnificent contrapuntal writing, which is sometimes buried in the singular timbre of the keyboard, can now be divided among four instruments, allowing the distinct voices Bach writes (sometimes even within one line) to be clearly heard and differentiated. These arrangements present a fresh and enhanced embodiment of these great works that add depth, shape, and color, allowing listeners an opportunity to hear them in a new way.



NOTICE: Recordings accompany in this record are available only to University of Maryland College Park faculty, staff, and students and cannot be reproduced, copied, distributed or performed publicly by any means without prior permission of the copyright holder.