Overture for Winds (Mendelssohn)

From Wind Repertory Project
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy

Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (arr. and ed. Boyd)

Subtitle: Based on the 1826 Autograph

This work bears the designation Opus 24.

General Info

Year: 1824 / 1981
Duration: c. 9:40
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Chamber orchestra
Publisher: Ludwig Music Publishing
Cost: Score and Parts - $89.00   |   Score - $20.00


Full Score
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
Contrabassoon (optional)
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass (optional)
Percussion I-II, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbal
  • Snare Drum
  • Triangle


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The Op. 24 by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy was composed in July of 1824 for the court orchestra of Bad Doberan near Rostock, where the young musician was accompanying his father. Writing for the Boston Symphony, George Marke remarks, "Some artists develop their craft slowly, others seem to being at the top. There is little difference between Mendelssohn's early and his mature works."

The original score was lost but recopied by Mendelssohn in July of 1826. These two scores were entitled Nocturno and were written for the instrumentation of one flute, two clarinets, two oboes, two bassoons, two horns, one trumpet, and one English bass horn (a conical bore upright serpent in the shape of a bassoon).

In his correspondence to the publisher Simrock, Mendelssohn mentions his desire to have this eleven-instrument version published, but apparently could not locate the score as he never mentions it again to Simrock after March 4, 1839. Mendelssohn did send Simrock an Ouverture fur Harmoniemusik ("Overture for Wind Band") scored for twenty-three winds and percussion along with a four-hand piano score on November 30, 1838. The 1838 composition is a re-scoring of the Nocturno for German Band of that era and was not published until 1852 following the death of Mendelssohn.

It has been suggested by musicologists that the 1838 re-scoring was an effort to imitate the orchestral color of Weber's Preciousa Overture. In Weber's overture, a gypsy melody is introduced by a small wind band with percussion accompaniment. At this time, however, Mendelssohn was also negotiating for the publication of the overture by Mori in London. It is quite possible that the re-scoring was an attempt to acquire greater performance opportunities for his work by making it available in settings for British and German bands along with a proposed edition for orchestra.

Several editions for modern instrumentation have appeared, all using the 1838 score as their source. However, the rediscovery of the 1826 autograph makes possible this edition based on the most authentic source known to date.

- Program Note by John P. Boyd


State Ratings

  • Florida: VI --- (The Florida Bandmasters Association denotes this as "significant literature.")
  • New York: VI
  • South Carolina: VI
  • Texas: V


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Cuesta Wind Ensemble (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) (Jennifer Martin, conductor) – 22 October 2023
  • State University of New York at Fredonia Wind Orchestra (Donna Dolson, conductor) - 22 February 2023
  • National Taiwan Normal Unibersity Festival Band(Hsueh Chun Cheng, conductor) – 11 November 2022
  • Stephen F. Austin University (Nacogdoches, Tx.) Wind Ensemble (David Campo, conductor) - 25 April 2021
  • University of North Texas (Denton) Wind Studies Chamber Winds (Daniel Cook, conductor) - 18 November 2020
  • Calvin University (Grand Rapids, Mich.) Wind Ensemble (Tiffany Engle, conductor) - 13 November 2020
  • Baylor University (Waco, Texas) Wind Ensemble (Eric Wilson, conductor) - 22 October 2020
  • University of Wyoming (Laramie) Wind Symphony (Robert Belser, conductor) – 7 November 2019
  • United States Military Academy Band (West Point, N.Y.) (Robert Ponto, conductor) – 23 February 2019
  • Peabody Preparatory Wind Orchestra (Baltimore, Md.) (Elijah Wirth, conductor) – 15 December 2018
  • Pacific Lutheran University (Parkland, Wash.) Wind Ensemble (Ron Gerhardstein, conductor) – 18 November 2018
  • University of North Texas (Denton) Concert Band (Kelly Desjardins, conductor) – 22 February 2017
  • San Francisco Wind Ensemble (John Carnahan, conductor) – 28 January 2017
  • Orchestre à Vent de McGill (Montreal, Quebec) Wind Symphony (Alain Cazes, conductor) – 31 March 2016
  • Orange County (Calif.) Wind Symphony (Anthony Mazzaferro, conductor) - 12 April 2015
  • University of Southern California (Los Angeles) Thornton Wind Ensemble (Thomas Lee, conductor) - 17 February 2013
  • Indianapolis Symphonic Band (David Shurger, guest conductor) - 1 May 2012
  • Oregon State University Wind Ensemble (Chris Chapman, conductor) - 15 November 2009
  • Mt. San Antonio College (Walnut, Calif.) Wind Ensemble (Jason Chevalier, conductor) – 15 March 2006 (CBDNA 2006 Western/Northwestern Division Conference, Reno, Nev.)
  • San Luis Obispo (Calif.) Wind Orchestra (William V. Johnson, conductor) – 5 December 1999
  • Interlochen High School Symphonic Band (Frederick Fennell, conductor) - 3 August 1980

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

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

All Wind Works


  • Garofalo, Robert J. “Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy: Overture for Winds, Op. 24.” In Performance Study Guides of Essential Works for Band, edited by Kenneth L. Neidig. Galesville, Md.: Meredith Music Publications, 2009. pp. 54–57. [Originally published in BD Guide magazine.]
  • Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, F.; Boyd, J. (1981). Overture for Winds: op. 24: based on 1826 Autograph [score]. Ludwig Music Co.: Cleveland, Ohio.
  • Miles, Richard B., and Larry Blocher. (2010). Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 1. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 668-675.