Masquerade Suite 1. Holberg Overture

Johan Halvorsen



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Masquerade Suite was composed by Johan Halvorsen, one of the best-kept secrets of Norway. Not only was he an accomplished violinist and conductor, but also he was among the most prominent Norwegian composers in the generation following Edvard Grieg. His compositions develop the national Romantic tradition of his friends Grieg and Svendsen, but his was a distinctive style marked by brilliant orchestration inspired by the French Romantic composers. The original version of Masquerade Suite had nine movements. Paul Noble has selected five of the most suitable movements for band transcription and grouped them into this beautiful suite. The U.S. Navy Band in Washington, D.C. gave the premiere performance of this work. The first movement, Holberg Overture, sets the mood, pace, and musical themes for the entire suite, with rousing opening themes, followed by a grand fugue in the development section. This is clearly a piece for accomplished bands, giving all wind players a real workout. Each of the succeeding movements has a distinctive style, making the suite a significant addition to the repertoire of the Concert Band. Especially noteworthy is the “Arietta”, the easiest of the movements, and can easily stand alone with its haunting flute and oboe melodies and dramatic crescendo, the crisp solos in the “Molinasque”, and the final movement, which is very much like a circus march, fast, lively and short!


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