From Wind Repertory Project
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy

Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (rev. Erik Leidzén)

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This work bears the designation Opus 103, (MVW P 14). It may appear under the title Funeral March.

General Info

Year: 1836 / 1954
Duration: c. 5:00
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Winds
Publisher: Associated Music Publishers
Cost: Score and Parts – Out of print.


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The Funeral March was composed in memory of August Joseph Norbert Burgmüller (1810-1836), a sensitive and highly gifted musician, a composition pupil of Spohr and Hauptmann.

Apart from the Overture for Winds, this funeral march is Mendelssohn's only work for pure wind instrumentation.

- Program Note from publisher

The German composer Norbert Burgmüller (1810-1836) had a difficult life. He was very talented and well trained, but something went wrong along the way. Burgmüller was never a happy man; he is described as being an “odd person, uncomfortable with social conventions and any kind of conformity”. Burgmüller himself said: ”... I was not prepared for people, I believed only in music ... and I have become too wilful, or perhaps too vain, to feel comfortable with the ways and wills of others.” A broken-off engagement in his 20s is said to have caused epilepsy. Burgmüller also began drinking -- stories of Bergmüller and his friends’ wild binges used to circulate the community.

One bright spot, however, was his friendship with Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, director of music in Burgmüller's hometown of Düsseldorf from 1833 to 1835. Mendelssohn appreciated Burgmüller's talent, putting on performances of his music, and generally having a calming, encouraging effect on the man. Mendelssohn's move from Düsseldorf after only two years however, was a disappointment to Burgmüller. Another engagement was called off, apparently due to Bergmüller’s lack of decision; the drinking increased.

In the spring of 1836, Burgmüller travelled to Aachen to take a cure at a spa. He was found dead, drowned in a bathtub, on May 7 -- probably the result of an epileptic fit. Mendelssohn, who in May 1836 had returned to Düsseldorf to conduct his oratorio Paulus, was deeply affected by his friend’s death. During a visit to the town’s military kapellmeister he rose abruptly, asked for some manuscript paper, and composed a funeral march there and then. The march was played at Burgmüller's funeral on May 11, 1836.

- Program Note by thenameisgsarci

Erik Leidzén has brought out a new edition (the only modern one) of Mendelssohn's funeral march for his friend Norbert Burgmüller (1810-1836). It is a simple, straightforward and moving work, cast in the da-capo form common to many dirges, including the familiar shudder-and-weep opus of Chopin. The simplicity of this composition brings it within the reach of most bands.

- Program Note by Wendell Margrave (in "Sapp")


None discovered thus far.

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by this Composer

Adaptable Music

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

All Wind Works