“In the Hall of the Mountain King” is a piece of orchestral music composed for the sixth scene of act 2 in Henrik Ibsen’s 1867 play Peer Gynt. It was originally part of Opus 23 but was later extracted as the final piece of Peer Gynt, Suite No. 1, Op. 46. Its easily recognizable theme has helped it attain iconic status in popular culture, where it has been arranged by many artists, including for the piano.
Borrow a copy of the sheet music from the O’Connor Music Studio. I have this arranged for piano, duet, 2-piano, simplified…
8 part vocal orchestra (plus a tiny pair of cymbals)
Today’s piece is based on a collection of tales known as the One Thousand and One Nights or Arabian Nights.
The story, which was written many hundreds of years ago, tells of a Persian king who married a young girl every night. Every morning he would send his new wife to have her head chopped off. He had already killed 3000 women in this way.
When Scheherazade heard about this, she wanted to spend the night with him. She spent all night telling him a story. At the end of the night, she stopped the story at an exciting moment, like a modern-day soap opera.
The next night she finished the story and began another one, which she again stopped when it was dawn. The king had to wait another night to hear the rest of the story. Scheherazade kept this up for 1001 nights. By then, the king had fallen in love with Scheherazade and he let her live.
Rimsky-Korsakov’s best-known work is Scheherazade, an orchestral piece that describes in music the stories told by Scheherazade.
The work consists of four movements:
The Sea and Sinbad’s Ship
The Kalandar Prince
The Young Prince and The Young Princess
Festival at Baghdad. The Sea. The Ship Breaks against a Cliff Surmounted by a Bronze Horseman
Today, we’re focusing on The Young Prince and The Young Princess which can be found in Piano Pronto Movement 4
Today, we’ll listen to the Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67, of Ludwig van Beethoven. It was written between 1804–1808. It is one of the best-known compositions in classical music, and one of the most frequently played symphonies. As is typical of symphonies in the classical period, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is in four movements.
I’m sure you’ve heard the first 8 notes before…
Since it was written for orchestra, each instrument has its own line:
A piano version, transcribed by Liszt
From Disney’s Fantasia 2000:
Pink learns to play the violin, and interrupts a performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony with the Pink Panther theme played on various instruments.
Arrangements of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony can be found in Piano Maestro and lots of books including Piano Pronto’s Movement 2, Movement 5 (Victory Theme) and Beethoven: Exploring His Life and Music.
Today’s piece is the other one of two pieces that are so often played incorrectly that they have the distinction of being banned from competition in Northern Virginia Piano Teacher competitions.
The first was Fur Elise. This one is Spinning Song by Albert Ellmenreich. It’s in many, many piano method books. When I was in 5th or 6th grade, I tore it out of my book, put it in a construction paper cover and played it for some Girl Scout talent show. I have no idea why I couldn’t leave it in the book.
The left hand is supposed to sound like the foot pumping the wheel to make it move
This is part of a larger work called Musikalische Genrebilder, Op.14 which can be downloaded at IMSLP:
Spinnliedchen (Spinning Song), the best known item from the set, seems to be universally referred to as number four. The announcement of the first edition in Hofmeister’s Monatsberichte lists it as the fifth item. In Schirmer’s 1878 edition (see cover: here) of Op.14 it appears that items two and three were possibly combined into one number (entitled Sorrow and Consolation) so that Spinnliedchen became number four. Perhaps, this is the origin of the re-numbering.
To learn this sheet music, it’s available in Piano Pronto Movement 4 and Alfred Premier Piano Course Book 6
Here’s a sample:
With scrolling sheet music
How to conduct(?)
While this piece is not usually popular with other instruments, a trumpet quartet gave it a try
The DMS Percussion Ensemble
Singers from the Londonderry Middle School gave it a try:
The first half of this video is flute tuning. After that is a lovely flute duet.
For clarinet “quartet”. Quartet is in quotes because the performer wrote “This is a ‘cover’ I did of Spinning Song by Albert Ellmenreich. I played all the parts on my clarinet, using the really crappy camera I have. So the sound quality sucks… Also, I don’t have a bass clarinet, so the low part is edited down… and it sounds like a saxophone… oh well. lol!”
Humoresques Op. 101 (B. 187), is a piano cycle by the Czech composer Antonín Dvořák, written during the summer of 1894. One writer says “the seventh Humoresque is probably the most famous small piano work ever written after Beethoven’s Für Elise.
Yo Yo Ma (cello) and Itzhak Perlman (violin)
Jazz with Wynton Marsalis on trumpet
Zez Confrey gave this a makeover and included Way Down Upon the Swanee River:
Find the original Humoresque on IMSLP. The O’Connor Music Studio Lending Library has versions of Humoresque available at several levels and Confey’s Humorestless played in the video above.
Today’s piece is one of those that piano students often try to learn on their own – or a friend will teach them the first 9 notes. It’s usually played too fast and, often in the wrong octave, or the first couple notes are repeated too many times.
This is one of two pieces that are so often played incorrectly that they have the distinction of being banned from competition in Northern Virginia Piano Teacher competitions.
Stay tuned for the other one!
Für Elise was not published during Beethoven’s lifetime, having been discovered by Ludwig Nohl 40 years after the composer’s death. The identity of “Elise” is unknown.
The very basic melody:
The actual beginning is a little more involved.
And, there’s more!
If you’d like to learn to play this piece correctly, find the sheet music at IMSLP, Beethoven: Exploring His Life and Music, and countless compilations of classical music available at the O’Connor Music Studio.
By Valentina Lisitsa:
The Big Piano at FAO Schwartz in NYC:
The Mystery Behind Für Elise:
Youtube has many, many more versions. Beethoven would probably go nuts!