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Helios Overture

By Carl August Nielsen

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Helios Overture (Opus 17). By Carl August Nielsen (1865-1931). Arranged by Douglas McLain. For Concert Band. Grade 5. Score. Duration 12:30. Published by Baton Music (BF.BM276-SCORE).

The Helios Overture was composed in 1903 while Nielsen was on holiday in the Greek isles. The piece is said to depict the course of the sun through the sky from dawn to sunset. Even though the piece was composed in Greece, there are unmistakable hints of Scandinavian flavor - can one not fail to picture the opening horn section as a Viking horn echoing from the steep walls of a fjord? Or the glacially changing chords at the retransition? In Nielsen's case, it appears that one can take the composer out of Scandinavia, but not Scandinavia out of the composer. Nielsen is most remembered for his six towering symphonies, the concertos for flute and clarinet, the woodwind quintet, the tone poems Pan and Syrinx and A Fantasy Journey to the Faroes, and the stage works Maskarade and Saul and David. Within Denmark, he is also famous for many nationalistic songs which are still regularly performed.

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