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On a visit to Copenhagen, Grieg showed his overture to Niels Gade, who told Grieg: "This is trash, Grieg; go home and write something better." After this, Grieg arranged this overture for piano duet and sent it in to a competition at the Swedish Academy, one of the judges being Gade. The overture took first prize and was published in its duet form in Stockholm.
The opening Andante in D major starts with chords played by the orchestra contrasting with a sunny woodwind theme. The tension slowly builds to a D minor Allegro section in sonata form. The orchestra takes up the main theme in D minor taken from a song entitled "Autumn Storm." After the main theme, we hear a secondary theme in F major. The development brings the return of previous themes through a series of restless modulations. After a slower section for horn and strings, the recapitulation brings the return of the main themes. The overture concludes with a triumphant reprise of the opening woodwind theme.
- Maurice Abravanel conducting the Utah Symphony Orchestra. Recorded in 1975 and released in 1992 by Vox.
- Sir Thomas Beecham conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Recorded in 1955 and released in 1999 by EMI Classics.
- Neeme Järvi conducting the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. Recorded in 1988 and released in 1989 by Deutsche Grammophon.
- Okko Kamu conducting the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. Recorded in 1981 and released in 1994 by Bis.