Sigurd Jorsalfar (Grieg)

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Sigurd Jorsalfar is an orchestral suite by Edvard Grieg, celebrating King Sigurd I of Norway compiled in 1872 from incidental music to a play by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson. The incidental music was first performed in Christiania on 10 April 1872. The suite was premiered in Oslo on 5 November 1892, and revised by the composer the same year.

The suite is in nine parts, three of which are more widely known than the remainder (these three are the only purely instrumental numbers). The first of these, titled "In the King's Hall", is a prelude in ternary form which opens with a bassoon and clarinet theme played against plucked strings. The musical material of the exterior sections comes from the trio of a gavotte for piano that Grieg composed in 1867 and left unpublished.

The second, "Borghild's Dream", is an intermezzo contrasting a sensitive string melody with an agitated section. The third, "Homage March", opens with trumpet fanfares before presenting its main subject, a martial theme, on four cellos. The middle part, again a trio, is dominated by a melody for the first violins; the work ends with a recapitulation of the movement's first section.

Full list:

  1. Fanfare of Horns
  2. Prelude to act 1
  3. Borghild's Dream
  4. The Matching Game
  5. Northern Folk
  6. Homage March
  7. Interlude 1
  8. Interlude 2
  9. The Kings' Song


  • David Ewen, Encyclopedia of Concert Music. New York; Hill and Wang, 1959.

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