Iain Farrington

Pianist, organist, composer, arranger

Johann Sebastian Bach - Brandenburg Concerto No. 3

for Saxophone Quartet


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) collected his 'Brandenburg' Concertos together in 1721, as a set of six distinct works. They were presented to Christian Ludwig, the Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt, with a flattering dedication from Bach, possibly in the hope of being offered a job. It is not known whether the Margrave replied, and it is unlikely that he ever performed them.


The third concerto is originally solely for strings: 3 violins, 3 violas, 3 cellos and continuo. Bach reworked the first movement in 1729 for his cantata Ich liebe den Höchsten von ganzem Gemüte, BWV 174, using a larger orchestra featuring oboes and horns. This arrangement aims to preserve the essential musical elements of the original, while maintaining the character. The second movement consists merely of two chords, here given a short elaborated melody.


This arrangement was made for the Ferio Saxophone Quartet, who recorded it on the following album:


REVIVE - Baroque Arrangements for Saxophone Quartet: Chandos Records (CHAN 10999)


Available to purchase from Aria Editions here