Toccata & Fugue in D minor

Baroque grandeur on saxes.
Bach, J.S.
8 minutes
7, 8



From the arranger: In 2000 “Das Ensemble der Musikschule Lugde” commissioned a saxophone sextet arrangement of J.S. Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue” to celebrate the 250th anniversary of his death. My response to this challenge was that of excitement because his music is a constant source of inspiration – not only for arrangements but also for original compositions, such as “Bach and Beyond”. The concept of playing Baroque music on saxophones is incongruous to some, but I find the sonorities of six saxophones remarkably organ-like. It received its UK premier by Trinity Saxes at the 6th British Saxophone Congress in November 2000.  The Toccata can be performed separately and is approximately 2 minutes 30 seconds in length. The Fugue is approximately 4 minutes 30 seconds.

The E-Edition PDF bundle comes with the following parts:

Soprano Saxophone
Alto Saxophone 1
Alto Saxophone 2
Alto Saxophone 3
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone

“Toccata & Fugue in D minor” is also available in hard-copy from June Emerson Wind Music.

5 reviews for Toccata & Fugue in D minor

  1. tom.saxtet

    A must for all ensembles – we have performed this piece with the Royal College Saxophone Ensemble and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a wonderful reworking of Bach’s famous masterpiece with lots of interest for all parts and arranged with great skill and sensitivity for the saxophone. My students were all anthused by it and audiences love it. Nigel Wood makes this work come alive!
    Peter Nichols, Professor of Saxophone, Royal College of Music Junior Department

  2. tom.saxtet

    The Trinity College of Music Saxes recently performed this work at The British Saxophone Congress in London and this piece is beautifully arranged. Nigel Wood has thought carefully about splitting the organ lines between the various saxophones and the effect is stunning. The parts are very playable and there is much in common between the sound of an organ and the saxophone ensemble which Nigel Wood exploits to the full. In short, this is a well written, effective arrangement which I’m sure the great man himself (Bach) would have approved of.
    Gerard McChrystal, Professor of Saxophone, Trinity College of Music, London

  3. tom.saxtet

    I thought this was going to be just a well-executed transcription, but it turned out to be rather more than that. Shades of Jacques Loussier and some inventive part sharing and dovetailing. Although it would take a good deal of rehearsal and need a conductor, at least in rehearsal, I imagine it is both challenging (some of the big slurs would be tough to make) and rewarding to play, and a good concert piece. I hope it gets plenty of performances.
    Jerry Lanning, reviewer

  4. tom.saxtet

    I am an organist and this is one of my favorites (parts of it anyway). I also used play alto – makes it easy to relate to your arrangement. I very much like your handling of the fugue beginning at letter G. The repeating 16th’s carried by the altos on the beat was a good decision. I also like the arrangement of the finale portion, an easy section that often gets muddied, yet you have clean writing that is easy to follow. I praise your abilities! I wish I was half as good!
    Michael Freed, reviewer

  5. tom.saxtet

    This organ solo is so well known and has been transcribed or arranged for so many different ensemble combinations that I was surprised to find a saxophone arrangement for the first time. I was also lucky enough to hear Nigel Wood’s excellent arrangement by Trinity Saxes, directed by Gerard McChrystal at the Clarinet & Saxophones Society’s Sixth British Saxophone Congress last November. The Trinity Saxes doubled up the parts, but just six players could still produce the rich organ-like building up of chords. Choosing to use three alto saxophones shares out the counterpoint, so that all the payers get some rests, and keeping the original key in D minor means that the work lies very well under the fingers in all parts. Careful co-ordination is needed as some passages have the groups of four semi quavers dovetailing with each other with no overlapping note. it is not an easy piece but well worth a quartet inviting two more friends round to try it.
    CASS Magazine, Spring 2001

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