Classical Music | Music for Saxophone

Edvard Grieg

Once Upone a Time (arr. Fourmeau)   Play

Otis Murphy Saxophone
Haruko Murphy Piano

Recorded on 03/21/2001, uploaded on 03/11/2009

Musician's or Publisher's Notes

Edvard Grieg was a master of the miniature, and with the exception of the famous Piano Concerto in A minor, many of his most well-known compositions are shorter works. Among them are the numerous Lyric Pieces for piano, which Grieg produced fairly consistently between 1866 and 1901. The first collection, known as Book I and containing eight pieces, appeared in 1867 as the composer’s opus 12. In 1883, Grieg composed a second set, and from then on produced a new collection of piano miniatures at intervals of two to three years until the tenth and last was published in 1901. By then, there was a total of sixty-six pieces. Each book was an instant success, and contain some of Grieg’s most beloved music.

Opening the tenth and final book is “Once Upon a Time.” Of a simple ternary design, the outer sections of the piece feature an introspective chorale-like melody in E minor supported by a steady accompaniment of block chords. The middle strain of this quaint tune becomes somewhat livelier, and modulates to the key of the relative major. In contrast, however, the piece’s central episode adopts a quicker tempo, as well as the key of the tonic major, and displays Grieg’s finest folkdance idiom. Over drone fifths, a rustic tune is heard made up entirely of thirds. From E major, the music ventures through several keys, providing much needed variety which the rather simple tune is unable to supply. Several measures of hemiolas precede a final statement of the dance tune, after which a brief transition passage leads the listener to a reprise of the opening melody.      Joseph DuBose