Temple Dance from "Olav Trygvason"

From Wind Repertory Project
Edvard Grieg

Edvard Grieg (arr. Ragsdale)

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This work bears the designation Opus 50.

General Info

Year: 1872 / 2008
Duration: c. 7:00
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Aux Arcs Music
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Edvard Grieg’s operatic masterpiece Olav Trygvason was never finished, but Grieg (being at least somewhat practical) made piano arrangements of segments of the unfinished opera; Prayer and Temple Dance is one of these. Grieg extracted Prayer and Temple Dance by arranging a little over half of “Scene III” and combining it with material from “Scene I” of Olav.

The Ragsdale arrangement is in the spirit of that rehashing, although it eliminates the material from “Scene I” and replaces it with more material from “Scene III”. The arrangement contains most of the exciting segments of “Scene III”, along with a contrasting lyrical section.

- Program Note from publisher

The three fragments of the opera Olav Trygyasonconstitute a case of "what might have been" – a potentially great work that was a victim of a classic failure of communication. One of Grieg's dreams was to compose the "Great Norwegian Opera," and in 1873 he appeared to have the makings of just such a project at hand. Bjørnsterne Bjørnson, the great Norwegian poet and playwright, had developed three scenes of a libretto for an opera on the subject of Olav Trygyason, a revered Norwegian historical figure and King of Norway. According to Grieg's wife Nina, Scene III was to "conclude with a scene in which the high priest's daughter, left behind in the deserted temple, is about to close the doors when she is suddenly confronted by the tremendous figure of Olav standing in dazzling armor on the threshold." Certainly the exciting ending of this neglected masterpiece would have provided a suitable match for this dramatic moment.

- Program Note from University of British Columbia Concert Winds concert program, 4 October 2019


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State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) Symphonic Band (Lauren Visel, conductor) - 2 December 2021
  • University of British Columbia (Vancouver) Concert Winds (Lauren Visel, conductor) – 4 October 2019
  • University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) Wind Symphony (W. Dale Warren, conductor) - 3 October 2016

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