Improvisations on a Bach Sarabande, Opus 44 by Neal Corwell

Instrumentation: solo unaccompanied euphonium, tuba, trumpet or horn.
(or solo euphonium or B-flat trumpet with CD accompaniment)
• The tuba solo part is in bass clef, and a treble clef part is provided for all other instruments. If performing unaccompanied, the treble clef part may be read as if in C (C trumpet, violin), B-flat (euphonium, trumpet, clarinet or sax), F (horn) or E-flat (sax). If reading the treble clef part as a B-flat transposed part, the piece will be in the key of d minor, and if performing is that key, the optional CD accompaniment may be used.
•When ordering please remember to specify clef and whether you wish to purchase the unaccompanied, or CD accompanied, version.
Copyright: 2003
Duration: 6:30 for CD accompanied version,
ca. 5:45 unaccompanied version (ca. 5:00 with optional cut)
Range: concert pitch range for the euphonium version is DD to d-2 (with opt. ossias, this is compressed to F to b-flat-1). The Tuba solo version range is a perfect 5th lower, Pedal G to g-1 (and also has optional ossias to compress the range)
Difficulty: III-IV
Publisher: Nicolai Music
Price: $10 for unaccompanied solo version,
$20 for version with CD accompaniment
Other Info: The tuba version is in bass clef. Others read a treble clef part.


This haunting piece is built upon the
Sarabande from J.S. Bach’s Cello Suite No. 2. The solo lines are improvisatory in feel, and grew out of Neal’s free interpretations of this movement, one of his favorites that he frequently performs by memory during practice sessions. The optional recorded accompaniment is comprised of additional spontaneous improvisations based on the Sarabande’s thematic material, as performed by Corwell with a muted euphonium. There are no electronic sources (synthesizers, samplers) used for the accompaniment, but audio effects are added to the recorded euphonium to create the overall dark and mysterious atmosphere.

This is a versatile work. If performed unaccompanied, it may be performed by a solo euphonium, tuba, trumpet, horn, or almost any instrument. A mute may also be used, at the discretion of the soloist. The written solo, if performed effectively, sounds as though it is being spontaneously improvised. No passages can be classified as technically difficult, but a wide range and rapid shifts from high to low registers are called for in the unedited version, and these can be a challenge. However, optional octave ossias give the soloist the opportunity to tailor the work to his or her comfortable range.