Fingal's Cave

From Wind Repertory Project
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy

Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (trans. James Mahaffey)

Subtitle: Excerpts from Hebrides Overture (Opus 26)

General Info

Year: 1832 / 2013
Duration: c. 3:30
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Symphony
Publisher: Print Music Source
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $80.00   |   Score Only (print) - $20.00


Full Score
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

This work is also known as Hebrides Overture. Virtually a tone poem, it was written in 1832 and is still as popular as ever.

After a busy concert season in London, Mendelssohn made a pleasure tour through Scotland, where he was greatly impressed by the wild and beautiful scenery. There he conceived the idea of the Fingal's Cave Overture, one of the pieces in which his poetic imagination found happiest and most flawless expression. The ocean-washed cave on the Isle of Staffa, in the Hebrides, and the ruins of a vast, fantastic castle are suggested, with eerie sights and sounds making up the dramatic thoughts of the overture.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band

Mendelssohn’s “concert overture” The Hebrides was composed in 1830, revised in 1832, and published the next year as his Opus 26. Some consider it an early tone poem.

It was inspired by one of his trips to the British Isles, specifically an 1829 excursion to the Scottish island of Staffa, with its basalt sea cave known as “Fingal’s Cave.” It is not known whether Mendelssohn set foot on the island, the cave being best visible from the water, but the composer himself reported that he immediately jotted down the opening theme for his composition. He at first called the work “To the Lonely Island,” or “Zur einsamen Insel,” then settled on the present title. However, in 1834, the year after the first publication, Breitkopf & Härtel issued an edition with the name “Fingalshöhle,” or Fingal’s Cave, and this title stuck, causing some confusion.

Being a concert overture, The Hebrides does not precede a play or opera but is instead a standalone composition in a form common for the Romantic period. Dedicated to King Frederick William IV of Prussia, then Crown Prince of Prussia, the B-minor work became part of the standard orchestral repertoire and retains this position to the present day.

- Program Note from Wikipedia


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Atascadero (Calif.) Community Band (Randy Schwalbe, conductor) - 5 March 2023

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

  • Scherzo (Flex instrumentation) (arr. Ambrose) (1823/2021)

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