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Johannes Hanssen

Johannes Hanssen (arr. Loras John Schissel)

Also entitled Valdresmarsjen.

General Info

Year: 2001
Duration: c. 3:35
Difficulty: III-1/2 (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: C.L. Barnhouse Company
Cost: Score and Parts - $60.00   |   Score Only - $6.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
Cornet (Trumpet)I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Cymbal
  • Field Drum
  • Snare Drum


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Valdres is one of the most famous marches ever composed. The fact that it is evocative and expressive of its land of birth, Norway, is also significant. While march enthusiasts have typically been drawn to the vastly larger and better known repertoires of the United States, Germany, England, and Spain, Valdres remains a greatly loved petite Norwegian tone-poem in march time. Its composer, Johann Hanssen, began his career as a tenor-horn player in the Oslo Military Band in 1900. In 1903-1904, he composed Valdres.

The opening tune (played in this edition by the clarinet or cornet) is a bugle call from the Valdres Battalion; Valdres is a valley is southern Norway. The second subject is an old tune for hardanger-fiddle; the trio is a pentatonic tune based upon Norwegian folk music.

This new edition collates the various versions that Johannes Hanssen created throughout his many years as conductor and composer. In his later years, he adapted the opening tune for clarinet solo, as it also appears in his adaptation for full symphony orchestra. Conductors will also note that I have brought the orchestration “indoors” from the parade ground and the street. These changes reflect both Hanssen’s various other versions for concert band and for orchestra.

- Program Note by arranger

Hanssen began writing this march in 1901; it was not completed until 1904. Followings its premiere, during an open-air concert in Oslo, the composer (who was playing trumpet in the band) heard only two people applaud -- his two best friends. He then arranged the work for the Orchestra of the National Theater, but Johan Halvorsen, the conductor (and also a composer), turned it down. Later he sold the march to a publisher for 25 kroner (about five dollars). From this inauspicious beginning, Valdres March has become known in almost every country where these are brass or wind bands. Although it was his first composition, Hanssen admitted near the end of his life that he had never written anything better.

The title has both geographic and musical connotations. Valdres is a beautiful region between Oslo and Bergen. The first three measures contain the old signature fanfare for the Valdres Battalion, an ancient melody formerly played on the lur (or lure) -- in this instance a straight wooden "trumpet" which was long enough to play the same partials played on a modern bugle. Other melodies derive from a Haranger fiddle tune and a pentatonic fold tune, above a typical Norwegian drone bass.

- Program Notes from Program Notes for Band


State Ratings

  • California: V Class A
  • Iowa: IHSMA Band Grade IV
  • Indiana: ISSMA Senior Band Group I
  • Minnesota - Category I


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

  • Valdres (Flex instrumentation) (arr. Curnow) (1904/1985/2015)

All Wind Works


  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 271.