Romans 8:1 is one of the hinge pins of the victorious Christian faith. As the lyric of this piece renders it, "So there is now no condemnation unto them which are in Jesus Christ-- them who walk not by the flesh corruptly, but as the Spirit leads."
Throughout "Jesu, Priceless Treasure," Bach sets off the verses of the Johann Crueger hymn with contrapuntal sections set to the words of various verses written by St. Paul in what we now know as Chapter 8 of Romans.
In this movement Bach takes the opening two phrases of Romans 8 and frames them in a chorale-like opening that makes effective use of a few seconds of silence from time to time. He then weaves a tapestry around that theme and arrives at a resting point mid way. The opening theme is repeated in a different key, and then the weaving begins again, this time completing the thought of the verse.
Ultimately, the music complements the message of confidence, and the strong five-part writing fully develops the thought that in Christ, we are in fact heirs of an incorruptible promise and can live confidently in it.
Other than changing the key and adjusting octaves from time to time in the tuba part, this arrangement is very much a transcription of the choral work as Bach penned it.
This will be a challenging piece for good high school players, as the parts keep moving and some of the phrases are long. There is also need for considerable independence on the part of the players. If particular attention is paid to phrasing, dynamics, and accents, a very nice contest or concert piece will result.
SO THERE IS NOW, by J. S. Bach, arranged by Tom Kirkland for brass quintet consisting of two trumpets, french horn, trombone, and tuba, comes in a pdf file of 881K, with an eight-page score, five two-page parts, and a license page, nineteen pages in all. Performance time should be just over three minutes.
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Last update: 4 March 2021