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Edvard Grieg Norwegian Melody (for Wind Quintet)

A folky ‘Norsk’, raw and fresh as the mountain air...

Edvard Grieg (1843 – 1907), arguably the most famous of Norwegian composers, wrote in pretty much every genre. He composed the Lyric Pieces for piano on and off between 1867 and 1901. This collection of  66 character pieces, published in 10 books, contains some of Grieg’s most memorable melodic writing and some of his most startling harmonic experimentation.


The ‘Norwegian Melody’ (‘Norsk’), from Book I, Op. 12, has a raw, folk-like quality in its outer sections, and a slightly sinister contrasting section in the middle. (The former puts me in mind of mountains and big skies, while the latter conjures images of dark forests, goblins and even a small troll or two.)

N. B. The arrangement is a semitone above the original. This is to accommodate the Bb clarinet in the opening melody, and also to make effective use of the lowest notes of the oboe and bassoon. The minor key in the middle section looks horrendous, but, apart from the odd awkward fingering, much of it simply contains repeated notes - it’s really a sheep in wolf’s clothing…


Flute, Oboe, Clarinet in Bb, Horn in F, Bassoon

Flute, Oboe, Clarinet in Bb, Horn in F, Bassoon

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