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My Robin Is to the Greenwood Gone

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Percy Aldridge Grainger

Traditional English Tune, 1912 setting by Percy Aldridge Grainger (arr. Fred Strum)

General Info

Year: 1912 / 1999
Duration: c. 7:35
Difficulty: III-1/2 (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Various settings
Publisher: Alfred Music Publishing
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $100.00   |   Score Only (print) - $20.00


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

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbals (3: small, medium and large)
  • Vibraphone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

This delightful early setting by Percy Grainger, using only the first four measures of a popular English song, contains many of the melodic and harmonic twists and turns that we associate with his music of later years. Fred Sturm's new scoring for wind ensemble brilliantly brings to life this Percy Grainger masterwork.

- Program Note from Forsyth

Dedicated to Fred G. "Prof" Schroeder.

- Program Note from score

My Robin Is to the Greenwood Gone or Bonny Sweet Robin is an English popular tune from the Renaissance.

The earliest extant score of the ballad appears in William Ballet's Lute Book (c. 1600) as Robin Hood is to the Greenwood Gone. References to the song can be dated back to 1586, in a letter from Sir Walter Raleigh to Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester saying "The Queen is in very good terms with you now, and, thanks be to God, will be pacified, and you are again her Sweet Robin."

Although the words have been lost, it is suspected that the character Ophelia, of Hamlet (who is specified in the First Quarto to be a lutenist), sings the last line of the tune ("For bonny sweet Robin is all my Joy") during her madness (IV, v, 187). Some scholars believe that Shakespeare's choice of the song was meant to invoke phallic symbolism.

More recently, the song inspired Percy Grainger's "music room rambling" (as he described it) for which he wrote three instrumentations: solo piano; violin, cello and piano; and strings, flute and English horn.

- Program Note from Wikipedia


State Ratings

  • Louisiana: III


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