Details page

Holberg suite
Original Title
Fra Holbergs tid: Suite i gammel stil
Grieg, Edvard
Lynsdale-Nock, John
Year Arranged
Original Instrumentation
String orchestra
Year Published
Catalogue Number
Sheet Music Format
A4, Score (25) & parts (8x4=32)
Additional Equipment
Straight mutes
Other Instruments
Structure / Movements
4 movements (out of 5): I Prelude: Allegro vivace II Gavotte: Allegretto & Musette: Poco piu mosso III Sarabande: Andante IV Rigaudon: Allegro con brio
Treble, bass
C, ¢, 3/4
Key signatures
1#, None, 2b
Horn 1: g - c3 Horn 2: B - d2 Horn 3: g - b2 Horn 4: F - a1 Horn 5: f - bb2 Horn 6: c - c2 Horn 7: d - g2 Horn 8: D - b1
Creator's Comments
Performance Notes
This arrangement bears the full title Holberg Suite, Prelude & 3 Dance Movements, and that is exactly what it is: the Praelude: Allegro vivace, Gavotte: Allegretto & Musette: Poco più mosso, Sarabande: Andante, and Rigaudon: Allegro con brio from Grieg’s Aus Holberg’s Zeit op.40 for strings. Due to the omission of movement 4, Air: Andante religioso, the other movements were re-arranged in the slightly unusual order as listed above (the “usual” order being: fast, slow, minuet-trio, fast), but the programming works (and can easily be changed if so desired by the ensemble). The great advantage of the whole Holberg Suite, in terms of arranging it for horn ensemble, is that it is a strings only piece. This means the parts are limited to five (not taking into consideration double-stopping or divisi parts). Another advantage becomes apparent when opening the score: the written range, as well as the key used, is very convenient for horns. The keys are G major (Praelude, Gavotte, Sarabande and Rigaudon) and C major (Musette). The odd one out, g minor (Air), is omitted in this arrangement. So what Lynsdale-Nock did was to craftily transcribe the music as is (the players just read the string parts, effectively transposing the whole work into D major/G major). In regards to the range it is as if Grieg knew somebody would transcribe this work for horn ensemble. All the (too) high parts in the first violin are double stopped (in octaves), and the cello/double bass parts only go to the pedal tonic (G). As the bass parts are supposed to sound an octave lower, Lynsdale-Nock sometimes uses the dominant (pedal D), and so the overall range goes from pedal D to top C. There are mutes bits in the Praelude, and the parts are distributed according to the odd-parts-high-even-parts-low system. As can already be seen from the orchestral score, there is almost nothing unplayable in this work (except for the odd cascading septuplets, which have been omitted). In addition, the arrangement is very well done, so that each individual part is interesting, but not too challenging. While much of the piece is fairly horizontal in nature, there are however several places that require fast playing with just a bit inconvenient leaps, which puts this arrangement out of the league of intermediate horn ensembles (if played somewhat close to the original tempo). This is reinforced by the rather large range used, which makes the presence of a solid low player an absolute must. Any group consisting of eight serious horn players though will definitely want to give this one a go, and will be rewarded by happy and appreciative audiences.
Provision of review score: John Lynsdale-Nock (Corniworld)