Overture for Band (Mendelssohn Garofalo)

From Wind Repertory Project
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy

Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (ed. Robert Garofalo)

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This work bears the designation Opus 24. This work is also known as Nocturno or Notturno.

General Info

Year: 1824 / 1838 / 1998
Duration: c. 9:45
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Grand Mesa Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $100.00   |   Score Only (print) - $14.00


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

This concert band edition of Mendelssohn's work retains the quality and character of the original edition for wind ensemble. To better accommodate modern instrumentation, the key has been lowered a whole step, from C to Bb. This historically important work, originally titled Nocturno, was composed by Mendelssohn when he was only 15, and he returned to it years later to enlarge the choice of instrumentation. It's a wonderful example of the master composer's talents and deserves a place on the "must play" list for mature concert bands.

- Program Note from publisher

The original version of the Overture for Band – first titled Notturno – was composed by the fifteen-year-old Mendelssohn in 1824 for one flute, two clarinets, two oboes, two bassoons, two horns, one trumpet and one (bass) serpent. After losing the original score, he rewrote the work in 1826 (utilizing his photographic memory) and made a new revision for 23 winds and percussion (titled Ouverture für Harmoniemusik) in 1838. The overture was composed for the excellent small wind band (Doberaner Hamonoiemusik) at the fashionable seaside resort (Bad Doberan) near Rostock, northern Germany, where Mendelssohn was vacationing with his father in the summer of 1824.

This overture joins other works by Marthieu-Frédéric Blasius, Charles-Simon Catel, François Devienne, Louis-Emmanuel Jadin, Hyacinthe Jadin, and Charles Bochsa as among the few surviving wind band compositions from the classical period. In a letter of January 13, 1839, to Ignaz Moscheles, Mendelssohn stated his reasons for wanting Op. 24 published: "...because I thought it would give some people pleasure, and because it is easy and there are parts in it I like." Judging from the countless arrangements of the work for various media and its continued popularity in the wind band version, Mendelssohn's overture still gives people pleasure.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band

The recopied score was also lost until the early 1980s when it was discovered, after a time lapse of more than 150 years, in a West Berlin library. In 1838, Mendelssohn completed a new version of the work for 23 winds plus percussion and retitled it Ouverture für Harmoniemusik. This modern performance edition by Robert J. Garofalo is based on the 1826 score with major improvements taken from the 1838 version. In addition, the entire work has been transposed down a major second (from C to Bb concert) to accommodate modern wind instruments.

- Program Note from Eastman Wind Orchestra concert program, 17 February 2021


State Ratings

  • Florida: VI
  • Mississippi: VI-A


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Indiana University (Bloomington) Concert Band (Jason H. Nam, conductor) – 1 March 2023
  • Eastman School of Music (Rochester, N.Y.) Wind Orchestra (Lindsay Bronnenkant, conductor) - 17 February 2021

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

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

All Wind Works


  • Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music. "Felix Mendelssohn." Accessed 4 December 2016
  • Mendelssohn-Bartoldy, F.; Garofalo, R. (1998). Nocturno, Op. 24 : (Overture for Winds) : For Eleven Wind Instruments [score]. Whirlwind Music Pub.: [Silver Spring, Md.?].
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 424.