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Capriccio sopra la lontananze del suo fratello dilettissimo (Capriccio on the Departure of His Most Beloved Brother) [1704]

An arrangement by Mark Starr for piccolo trumpet (or posthorn) and string orchestra with harpsichord continuo of Bach's 6-movement work for harpsichord.

Johann Sebasatian Bach

link to biography of Johann Sebastian Bach

A demo recording of this arrangement -- realized with digital musical sounds -- will begin to play automatically upon opening this page.  The audio may take from a few seconds up to a minute to load -- depending on the speed of your internet connection.  If you do not wish hear it, please click on the STOP button (or PAUSE button) on the media player, below.  Also, you may wish to adjust your volume control to a more comfortable level

If you would like to download a copy of this audio demo in wma format (playable with Windows Media Player and other media players,) please right-click on this link: here; and then select "Save Target As..." Copies of this wma file may be freely distributed not-for-profit and unaltered.


The full score of this arrangement for piccolo trumpet (or posthorn) and string orchestra with harpsichord continuo is available for perusal, audition, purchase, downloading and printing on the website www.sibeliusmusiccom.  To jump to an online display of the sheet music, please click on the following link:

link to sheet music online of Mark Starr's orchestral arrangement of Bach's Capriccio sopra la lontananza del suo fratello dilettissimo

To display the score on a computer screen -- while listening to a synchronized MIDI performance of the music -- one must first download Sibelius' web music viewer, called Scorch.  Scorch is available free-of-charge on the sibeliusmusic.com website. (Just click on the green button marked Get Scorch)

To rent the instrumental parts for a public performance and/or commercial recording, please click on the link Contact Noteworthy in the left-hand column.

This orchestration for Baroque orchestra employs an ensemble that Bach used in some of his works for orchestra.  There are numerous movements in Bach's oeuvre for strings with harpsichord continuo, occasionally with instrumental soloists.  In the 5th movement of this arrangement, Mark Starr introduces a solo instrument -- a posthorn (or, more practically, a piccolo trumpet in B-flat, as a substitute.) Here, Starr is following Bach's explicit instructions in the movement's title.

The Arioso is the first movement in Johann Sebastian Bach's 6-movement suite entitled Capriccio sopra la lontananza del suo fratello diletissimo (Capriccio on the Departure of his Most Beloved Brother.) The Capriccio was originally composed for harpsichord around 1704, when Bach was 19. Here is a unique example of program music in Bach's oeuvre.  

The second movement of Bach's Capriccio sopra la lontananza del suo fratello diletissimo, entitled Andante, is a double fugue. Like the first movement, the theme in this movement is copiously ornamented in the style of French keyboard and vocal music (as in the works of Couperin and Rameau.). All of the ornaments in this arrangement are by Bach. They are all rhythmically notated for precision in performance.

In the third movement of this suite, Bach entered the region of the sublime -- perhaps for the first time in his compositional career (he was only 19 at the time.) The movement is a short passacaglia, based on a four-bar ground bass. The opening melody is one of the most heart-rending Bach ever composed.

The fourth movement of the Capriccio serves as a harmonic and thematic transition to the following posthorn aria. Bach's subtitle furthers the programmic story-line. He states: "Realising that the departure cannot be avoided, here the friends say farewell."


Bach's title for the fifth movement indicates here is an aria for posthorn and accompaniment.  In this arrangement, it is scored for posthorn, strings and harpsichord continuo. Since posthorn players are rather hard to come by these days, there is a suitable substitute: i.e. the high trumpet in B-flat (also known as a Bach trumpet.) With the profusion of early music ensembles in many musical centers, trumpet players who can cope with the high tessitura of Bach's trumpet parts can now usually be found.

The suite ends with a glorious, virtuoso double fugue in which the theme is fashioned after the fanfare motive that is found in the post horn part of the previous movement.


total duration: 14 minutes