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Overture for Winds (Mendelssohn)

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Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy

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


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


Instrumentation

Full Score
Piccolo
Flute
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
Contrabassoon (optional)
Bb Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
Eb Alto Clarinet
Bb Bass Clarinet
Bb Contrabass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone I-II
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
Trumpet (in Bb) I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Euphonium
Tuba
String Bass (optional)
Percussion I-II, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Cymbal (crash)
  • Snare Drum
  • Triangle


Errata

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


Commercial Discography


State Ratings

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


Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • 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
  • 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

This composer primarily wrote orchestral music. Other transcriptions of his works include:


Resources

  • 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.]
  • Miles, Richard B., and Larry Blocher. (2010). Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 1. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 668-675.