In making these arrangements I wanted to bring to wider notice the wonderful keyboard works of J.S.Bach, many of which are rarely played in public these days. In particular the many works which take the form known as "Prelude and Fugue", although widely studied, I felt were due for more widespread exposure and appreciation.
Not all of Bach's keyboard works are suitable for transcriptions of this type, and I had to avoid those works which depend heavily on techniques exclusive to the keyboard. Fortunately these are few in number, and the vast majority of Bach's huge keyboard repertoire is accessible to any amount of transcription. This is due to Bach's extraordinarily flexible and adaptable contrapuntal techniques, which allow every voice an exceptional degree of independence at the same time that it participates fully in the overall texture. In addition, his natural language seems to sit at the crossroads between vocal and instrumental styles, so that his instrumental music has 'singing' qualities, and his vocal music has the expressive precision of instrumental chamber music.
These arrangements are faithful transcriptions of the originals, transposed up a semitone to make them more accessible to saxophones. Dynamic, articulation, expression and tempo markings have been added, and Baroque decorations written in modern form.
These arrangements are based on the notion that the saxophone quartet is the nearest modern equivalent of the Baroque consort, in which each instrument blends perfectly with its neighbour. The modern string quartet, for instance, is not a consort since the violin, viola and cello do not have the same type of resonance and therefore have different and distinctive timbres. This reflects an increased emphasis on differentiation of colour which has developed over the last few centuries.
Michael Christie studied 'cello, composition and piano at the Royal College of Music (1975-79), where he won the Bliss Prize. As a freelance 'cellist he worked with various orchestras in the UK, including shows in the West End. His music theatre work with ensembles such as the Lindsay Kemp Company took him on tours to Spain, Italy, Venezuela and the Shetland Islands. In 1989 he was commissioned by the Royal Opera House "Garden Venture" to write a chamber opera ("The Standard Bearer"). He wrote a number of music theatre pieces for Dartington Summer Music and also for the company which he co-founded with Susannah Self, Selfmade Music Theatre.
As a professional educationalist he has specialised in teaching 'cello, recorder, composition and creative class music. Currently he is a peripatetic instrumental tutor in a number of schools in North London, and teaches composition and musical awareness at the Junior Guildhall. He has also led many composition projects in schools for the chamber orchestra English Sinfonia over the last few years.