K065 Four Norwegian Moods

deutsch K065 Vier Stücke nach norwegischer Art

K65 Four Norwegian Moods

for orchestra – Vier Stücke nach norwegischer Art (Vier norwegische Impressionen = Vier norwegische Stimmungsbilder) für Orchester – Quatre Pièces à la norvégiennes (Quatre Impressions norvégiennes) pour orchestre – Impressioni Norvegesi. [Quattro episodi alla norvegese] per orchestra

Title: When Strawinsky came to America in 1939, his knowledge of English was deficient. An incorrect title therefore slipped in for these Norwegian pieces, as by the word mood, he meant the Latin word Modus. As a result, all the translations that have become common for this, which translate mood as ‘Impressions’ or ’Atmospheres’, even with gentle adjectives, are incorrect. The title that corresponds to the actual original is in French and is ‘Quatre Piéces á la Norvegiennes’. There is also the matter of the original English title for the ‘Four Norwegian Moods’, which does not reproduce the sense, and of a strictly incorrect French translation, which was however authorised as the actual original, which is in fact a correct translation of the sense and which had to be followed accordingly for translations into other languages.

Scored for*: a) First edition: Piccolo Flute, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, English horn, 2 Clarinets in B b (also in A), 2 Bassoons, 4 Horns in F, 2 Trumpets in B b, 2 Trombones, Tuba, Timpani, Strings (Violins I, Violins II, Violas, Violoncellos, Double Basses; b) Performance requirements: Piccolo Flute (= 2nd Flute), 2 Flutes (2nd Flute = Piccolo Flute), 2 Oboes (2nd Oboe = English horn), English horn (= 2nd Oboe), 2 Clarinets in B b (also in A), 2 Bassoons, 4 Horns in F, 2 Trumpets in B b, 2 Trombones, Tuba, 3 Timpani, 2 Solo Violins, 1 Solo Viola, Strings (Violins I**, Violins II**, Violas**, Violoncellos**, Double Basses).

* The list gives the complete catalogue of all instruments to be used; the pieces themselves have different individual orchestrations.

** Divided in two.

Source: The collection of folksongs, hunted down by Vera Strawinsky in Los Angeles and alluded to by Strawinsky in his letter to Nabokov dated 5th October 1943 but which he in fact did not name explicitly, that he used for his works were identified in 1972 by Uwe Kraemer* as Norges Melodier. Although there are many of the numerous editions of Norwegian folksongs in which one or other of the seven folksongs and folkdances used by Strawinsky can be found, the only place in which all seven tunes can be found together is in the Norges Melodier. The four volumes were published at different intervals between 1875 and 1924. The first volume was published anonymously by Edvard Grieg, and the other three by Eyvind Alnaes. The publishers responsible for it, Wilhelm Hansen Musik-Forlag in Copenhagen and Leipzig along with Norsk Musikforlag in Stockholm and later Oslo, were very well known to Strawinsky as his own publishers (Concertino) and Schönberg’s publishers (Serenade). Kraemer’s speculations were first confirmed by the name of the publishers Hansen to Nabokov. The four volumes contain five-hundred Norwegian folksong tunes in total with a very simple piano accompaniment without figures either for each song or across the whole collection. The first volume contains 123, the second 120, the third 125 and the fourth 132 pieces, all with text underlayed. The edition fulfils a documentary purpose in the context of Scandinavian nationalism, but makes no claims at musicological accuracy. It is through and through a practical edition for appreciators of folksong with little pianistic ability, without a preface, without remarks on the edition and also without the explanation of the principles upon which they were collected. Kraemer discovered in it all the folksongs used by Strawinsky and listed them. Allegedly it should be not this original four-volume edition that Vera Strawinsky brought to her husband, but a single-volume American reprinted version from 1930 (The Norway Music Album, Publishers O. Ditson, Boston), from which Strawinsky took his originals. That does not diminish the importance of Kraemer’s work if it turns out to be true. Whether Vera Strawinsky already owned the Norwegian anthology and referred Strawinsky to it, or whether she, after the first dealings with the film company was looking with her husband expressly for Norwegian folk songs, because the orchestration of an appropriate original would speed up the work; whether Strawinsky’s conception was heading towards Norwegian folk songs or whether the availability of such songs guided the idea into a certain path, are all questions which must remain unanswered.

* Uwe Kraemer: „Four Norwegian Moods“ von Igor Strawinsky, Melos, Februar-Heft 1972, S. 80[b]-84[a].

Table of incorporated folk songs



    Norges Melodier Volume III, p. 16-17

      original Moderato with repetition 24 4/4-bars G major

Underjordisk musik

    Norges Melodier Volume IV, p. 186

      original Andante with repetitions 32 2/4-bars A major


Eg rodde meg ut pas selagrunnen ( I put out to sea and have found)

    Norges Melodier Volume I, p. 39

      original Andante 19 3/4-bars a minor

En liten gutifra Tiste dal´n

    Norges Melodier Volume I, p. 42

      original Con moto 14 3/4-bars without upbeat a minor

Wedding Dance


    Norges Melodier Volume I, p. 20

      original Allegro moderato with repetition 20 2/4-bars d minor


Reise laat for brudefolget, near det kommer fra kirken

    Norges Melodier Volume II, p. 124

      original Moderato with repetitions 20 4/4-bars G major with modulation 2. section after D major


    Norges Melodier Volume II, p. 59

      original Moderato with repetitions 16 2/4-bars G major

Construction: The works are a sequence of four short, distinctively orchestrated pieces which have titles and are not numbered, and are in the most simple Major-Minor tonality in the style of simple Norwegian folk music.



Crotchet = 106 (77 bars [without upbeat] = figure 41 up to the end of figure 20 3[structural A-B-A 1- C-A 2]).

    [B flat major-section] (16 bars [without upbeat] = figure 41 up to the end of figure 3) {A}*.

    [F major-section] (25 bars = figure 4 up to the end of figure 9) {B}*.

    [B flat major-section] (10 bars = figure 10 up to the end of figure 12) {C = shortened version of A}*.

    Trio** [C major-section] (17 bars = figure 13 up to the end of figure 17) {D}*.

    [B flat major -section] (9 bars = figure 18 up to the end of figure 20) {E = shortened version of A}*.

Scored for Tutti without English horn***, without 3rd/4th Horn***, B-Clarinets without changing to A***, without Solo Strings, 1st/2nd Violins and Violas divided.< /span>

* { } Analytical identificatory letter.

** Scored for 1 Clarinet in B flat and 2 Bassoons.

*** English horn, 4 Horns, Clarinets in B flat and A specified in the instrumental list on the first page of the piece.

Song (Lied)

Crotchet = 66 ([C major] 50 bars = figure 21 up to the end of figure 30 5[structural A-B-A 1]).

    [a minor-section] (24 bars = figure 21 up to the end of figure 24) {A}*.

    [aeolian a minor-section] (17 bars = figure 25 up to figure 29 1) {B}*.

    [a minor-section] (9 bars = figure 29 2up to the end of figure 30) {C = >shortened version of A}*.

Scored for 2 Flutes, 1 Oboe, English horn, 1 Bassoon, 1 Solo Violin, 1 Solo Viola, Strings (1st/2nd Violins divided).< /span>

* { } Analytical identificatory letter.

Wedding Dance (Hochzeitstanz)

Crotchet = 124 (70 bars = figure 31 up to the end of figure 45 7[structural A-B-A 1-A 2]).

    [d minor-section] (20 bars = figure 31 up to the end of figure 34) {A}*.

    Meno mosso Crotchet = 108

    [G major-section] (23 bars = figure 35 up to the end of figure 40**) {B}*.

    [d minor-section] (13 bars = figure 41 up to the end of figure 44) {C = slightly altered version of A}*.

    [d minor-section] (7 bars = figure 45) {C = verkürzt A with Coda-Charakter}*.

Scored for Tutti with Piccolo Flute, 2 Oboes without English horn, Clarinets in B flat without changing to A, without 2nd Trombone, without Solo Strings, Violoncellos divided.

* { } Analytical identificatory letter.

** Figure 40 = 40 1-4 Instruction to make an accelerando.

Cortège (Festzug)

Crotchet = 88 {A}* (53 bars = figure 46 up to the end of figure 60 5[structural A-B-A 1])

    [G major-section] (17 bars = figure 46 up to the end of figure 49).

    Più mosso Crotchet = 120 {B}*.

    [D major-section] (20 bars = figure 50 up to the end of figure 54).

    Tempo Imo Crotchet = 88 {C = erweitert und durchgeführt A}*.

    [G-major-section] (26 bars = figure 55 up to the end of figure 60).

Scored for Tutti with Piccolo-Flute, 2 Oboes without English horn, Clarinets in A without changing to B flat, without 4. Horn, without Trumpets, without Trombones, without Tuba, 2 Solo Violins, without Solo Viola, 1st/2nd Violins divided.

* { } Analytical identificatory letter.

Style: I. The 56 bars of the two original songs ‘ Brurelaat’ and ‘ Underjordisk’ musik are expanded by Strawinsky by 21 bars to reach 77 bars in totals; the first song is transposed from G major to B major, and the second song from A major to C major. The original time signature 4/4 of the first song is retained, while the 2/4 of the second song was changed to 4/4 and thus fits in with the first time signature. From the 16 bars of the first song (without counting the repeat), he uses only the first 6 bars, and from the 16 bars of the second song (without counting the repeat), he uses the first 4. From these 10 original bars, he constructs the piece in an A-B-A 1-C-A 2structure. The first section (A) is taken exclusively from the first song, and bars 5 and 6 of the original are extended each time. The B section is based on the freely manipulated rhythm of the original bars from A, which are used in sequence. The C section consists of a shortened A section (A 1). Strawinsky writes the three-part woodwind movement of the Trio (D section) using bars from the second song original. The final section (E) consists of an again shortened and slightly changed A section (A 2), which, apart from one bar in the Flute part (Figure 20 1), smooths off the characteristic dotted rhythms, but retains the just-as-characteristic triplet rhythm. –

II. The songs that were used which have text (therefore presumably Strawinsky’s title Song) ‘ Eg rodde meg’ and ‘ En liten’ consist originally of 19 or, without counting the upbeats, 14 bars, so 33 in total, which Strawinsky extends to form the the 50 bars of his three-section piece. Structurally, Song is an A-B-A 1form, from which A is taken from the first and B from the second song. In the first section (A), the A minor tonality is retained, as is the original 3/4 time signature. After an introductory bar in the violins, which sets up their accompanying function in the next bar, the English Horn enters with the melody of the song, which follows the original for 9 bars with an alteration that is scarcely worth mentioning in the 4th bar. Bars 11/12 interrupt it with a string interlude. The melody line then transfers to the oboe with bassoon accompaniment, but only follows the original fragmentarily. Strawinsky changes the rhythmic stresses of the song without changing the length of the work. The extension of this section by 5 bars to 24, while leaving out a whole bar containing three calls of joy from the original written with 3 triplets goes back to an introductory bar, the two bars of instrumental interlude, bars 11 and 12, and to the 2 bars of transition from the A to the B section, bars 23 and 24. Section B, which actually begins by using the end of bar 25 as an upbeat but without the original leap of a fourth, makes 14 (15 including the upbeat) bars of the A-minor original into a 17-bar mixture of Aeolian and A minor while retaining the original 3/4 time signature. The entire melodic line is given to the 1st Flute. It faithfully follows the melody of the song from the original including the alternation between g# and g, and only omits the 4th bar (counted excluding the upbeat bar), and shortens the final bar at figure 28 by a crotchet length, in order to connect to a repetition of the first 4 bars (excluding the upbeat bar) but with the upbeat bar omitted. What therefore occurs is one of Strawinsky’s characteristic compressions, as he brings forward the rhythmic stresses of the original by a crotchet as a result of his having shortened the music by a crotchet. In order to remain true to the original in spite of this, he begins bar 16 (figure 28) with a crotchet rest, and thus ends one bar later (figure 29 1) again in the rhythm of the original. Section C consists of 9 bars taken from the first song, which shorten the first A section. The melodic line of the first 4 bars is given to the English Horn against split violin string accompaniment, and the following three bars are given to the two Flutes accompanied by the Solo Violin and Solo Viola. The two final chords are at first played by the divisi violins (figure 30 4), then the two flutes, oboe and English Horn (figure 30 5). The first 4 bars correspond to the original, for which Strawinsky, as before, rewrites the first note of the song, which appears in the original as a crotchet with a fermata (to be understood as one whole bar long), as a minim with a crotchet rest preceding it. The next three bars take up the characteristic triplet motif of the song alternately between the solo strings and winds (flutes, oboe), before the final chords, played pianissimo, are heard. –

III. In this wedding-dance piece, Strawinsky only uses 15 bars (20 including the repeat) of the folksong Brudeslaaten, and he makes the A section into a 70-bar-long A-B-A form with Coda. In no other piece in the Four Norwegian Moods does Strawinsky follow the original so truly. The first 20 bars of the A section retain the D minor tonality and the 2/4 time signature of the original. The repeat of the first 5 bars is written out fully. The same is true for the subsequent 7 bars, which are taken from the postlude of the folksong, the melody of which he gives to the bassoons. He only changes the final 3 bars because he needs to modulate to G major for his own middle section. This middle section (B), which is 23 bars long, was clearly freely composed, and does not use a folksong. It is probable that it has only not yet been found up to this point, and Strawinsky builds the music over a rhythmic framework (quaver rest, 2 semiquavers, 2 semiquavers + quaver) that seems to have been derived from the Brudeslaaten piece. The subsequent C section, which begins after a short accelerando which modulates back to D minor and which spans 20 bars, takes on the first 5 bars (10 including the repeat) of the original with very slight departures from it and it accumulates at the beginning in the melody, and at the end colours it, and there then follows note-for-note the 7 bars of the postlude of the original, which forms a sort of coda after a further 3 bars derived from bar 7. The Coda (D) consists of the first 4 bars of A, which correspond note-for-note to the original, and a modulatory step to A which is left open with the final chords. –

IV. Strawinsky uses 2 Norwegian songs in this processional piece. The first, Reise, spans 10 bars without repeat, but with the two repeats of the prelude and postlude 20 bars; the second, Halling, spans 8 bars without repeat, but with the three repeats of the prelude, middle section and postlude, 16 bars. Strawinsky constructs his 53 bar-long work from these 18, or 36, bars. As in his original compositions, he works with building blocks that he rotates in different orders. Structurally, Cortège is again an A-B-A 1form. However it appears as though Strawinsky was loath to always follow the original in the folksong style. In Cortège, it is not therefore a case of simple structures imitating the original, but inside the bars he on several occasions combines the end of a bar melody with the beginning of another one, which was not particularly difficult to do inside the tonal simplicity of the original. He constructs the first section, after a two-bar introduction without upbeat, from the rhythmic elements of the original with fragments from the first song. The original key of G major remains, and the original 4/4 time signature alternates in places between 4/4, 3/4 and 2/4. He takes note-for-note only the first two bars of the original as bars 3 and 4 with the melodic line in the violins, and allows the characteristic bassoon accompaniment to continue on, the quaver-semiquaver rhythm of which binds the entire section together; he reuses the two bars as bars 6 and 7, and the imitates the melody in bars 7 and 8 in the oboes and bassoons. Bars 9 to 12 reuse bars 3,4, 5 and 6 from the original with the melody in the 1st Horn, and he again reuses the first two bars of the original with identical orchestration from the second half of bar 12, which due to the change of bar up to that point reach into the 14th bar, and he uses bar 7 of the original, again with a horn melody, for this bar, and he still continues using bars 5 and 6 of the original as bars 15 and 16, still with the horn. The final bar, 17, corresponds to the first quaver of the repeated section 6 in the original and fills the remaining time with pauses. Strawinsky practically jumbles up with the original in an appropriate manner. The process can be depicted diagrammatically. The middle section, B, transposes the G major original to D major, retains the 2/4 time signature up to a point (bar 17 = figure 54 1) and makes 8 (including the repeat, 16) bars of the original into 20 bars. The process is the same as in the A section. Strawinsky cuts single bars, fragments and rhythmic elements out of the original and reassembles them in a different way. The first 4 bars are the first two bars of Halling which are already repeated in the original. The following sequence of bars 5 to 7 consist of bar 1 of the original and three, permuting, separated figures of four semiquavers which are taken from bar 6 of the original, but with the interposition of a single semiquaver value gives the effect of internal rhythmic dislocation. He recombines bars 1 and 2 of the original to make bars 8 to 12. Bar 13 (up to and including bars 16, a clarinet dialogue) is a combination of the 2nd half bar of bar 3 with the 1st half bar of bar 4 of the original. The second half bar of bar 4 of the original forms the first half bar of bar 14. For the rest of bar 14 up to the first half of bar 16, he reuses the permutation figure of bar 6 = bar 6 of the original. The rest of bar 16 is a running-off figure into bar 17, which is extended by a crotchet, in which bar 2 of the original is combined with accompaniment figures. The remaining bars, 18 to 20, correspond again to the first two bars of the original. Here too a diagram that makes clear these connections can be produced, depending on whether one thinks that Strawinsky either breaks off or compresses single bars from the original in this middle section. The final section, C, returns to the first melody, but extends the original substantially by 26 bars. The charm is created by the combination of different bars from the original and at the same time their ordering. The process cannot be shown so easily in a diagram because the bars interpenetrate one another. The tonality remains unaltered, and the original bar scheme is interrupted less often and only by units of three quavers. Bar 1 corresponds to the original. Bar 2 is a repetition of this, and the melody part alternates between the bassoon and the 1st Oboe. Bar 3 corresponds to bar 2 in the 1st Oboe, and bar 3 in the 2nd Oboe corresponds to bar 9 in the original. Bar 4 connects numerous very short melodic and rhythmic fragments from all of the bars used as the basis of this process. Bars 5 to 8 are, as previously in A, constructed using the repeat of the first two bars of the original. Bar 9 forms, with bar 8, the imitation of the first two bars in the 1st oboe. Bars 10 to 13 in the horn part correspond to bars 3 to 6 of the original. In bar 13 of the violin part therefore, the second half of bar 1 of the original is incorporated and is continued with a rhythmically displaced version of bars 2 and 3 of the original up to bar 15. The horn part then enters again with bar 3 of the original, omits bar 4 and continues with bars 5 and 6 of the original. The horn part ends at bar 17 of the version. The process repeats itself because from this bar up to bar 20, the violin part can be heard again twice with bars 1 and 2 of the original, and is even imitated again at the end in bars 19 to 21 by the oboes. In turn, their unison D finally declaimed by the strings, which is held for 5 bars from bar 22 up to the first crotchet of 26, completes the work and the composition as a sort of coda.

Construction table

Example ‚Cortège’ *

A-section B-section A1-section
bars bars bars
Strawinsky Source Strawinsky Source Strawinsky Source
 01  00  01  01  01  01
 02  00  02  02  02  01
   #  03  01  03  (X)
 03  01  04  02    #
 04  02    #  04  (X)
   #  05  01  #  
 05  00  06  (6)  05  01
   #  07  (6)  06  02
 06  01    #  07  01
 07  02  08  01  08  02+01
 08  02  09  02  #  
   #  10  01  09  02
 09  03  11  01  10  03
 10  04  12  02  11  04
 11  05    #  12  05
 12  06+01  13  03+04  13  06+01
   #  14  04+(06)  #  
 13  01+02  15  06  14  06+02
   +  16  06+00  15  03
 14  02+09  17  02  16  05
 15  05    #  17  06+01
 16  06  18  01  #  
 17  06  19  01  18  02
     20  02  19  01
         20  02+01
         21  02
         22  (Coda)
         23  (Coda)
         24  (Coda)
         25  (Coda)
         26  (Coda)

* According to Helmut Kirchmeyer: Verfahrenstechniken Strawinskyscher Bearbeitungen, in: Musikinformatik und Medientechnik, Musikwissenschaftliches Institut der Universität Mainz, Bericht Nr. 40, März 2000, 17 S.

Dedication: no dedication known.

Duration: 2'24" (Intrada), 2'13" (Song), 1'15" (Wedding Dance), 2'13" (Cortège).

Date of origin: Hollywood, spring up to 18th August 1942.

First performance: 13rd January 1944, Sanders Theatre, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Boston Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Igor Strawinsky.

Remarks: Without Strawinsky’s own statements, we would not know today the reason for the composition of the Four Norwegian Moods. As a result of these, the four pieces have a two-fold compositional root. The first begins with the commission by a Hollywood film company to write music to an anti-Nazi film which was to be about the invasion of Norway by German troops in the Second World War, and the other was his wife’s visit to an antique shop. As to which film company it was or which folksong collection Vera Strawinsky bought remains unspecified. Strawinsky even forgot the name of the film when he was asked about it in 1959. The compositional period can be logically defined as being from the early part of 1942 up to the autumn of that year using the confirmed fragmentary data available to us. The invasion of Norway was an event in the War that took place between April and June 1942. The order to land was given on 2nd April, and Narvik was invaded on 9th April by the mountain infantry. On 28th May however, it was captured back by the Allied forces who, after being beaten again by the German troops, withdrew from Norway on 8th June. There can therefore have been no commission given to Strawinsky before the 9th April, because the events in Norway had not yet taken place. Over the course of May, it looked like the English would win and this offered a good battle film scenario for the Allies. Strawinsky would probably not have selected a song without good reason for his second instrumental piece, the text of which portrays one party chasing away another from their own waters. While the surviving composition sketches, very unusually for Strawinsky, are neither signed nor dated, the surviving orchestral autograph score bears the date of completion 18th August 1942. According to this, his work on Four Norwegian Moods was completed, as we know today, between the middle of April at the earliest up to the 18th August 1942. Strawinsky, who was living humbly in Hollywood, must have wanted a speedy completion in order to avoid newly looming financial concerns.For this reason, Strawinsky worked very quickly. The music was also to turn out more favourably than usual. Both facilitated the idea of making a Folksong Suite. On 5th October 1943, Strawinsky informed Nicolas Nabokov from Hollywood of his composition, explained its idea of Mood as Modus and brought up the matter of the folk songs edition in an explanatory note. Vera is not mentioned in this, and neither is anything about the antique shop. According to this letter, he found the edition himself in a public library. Here, he also names the publishers as being Hansen, dates the edition to the beginning of the century and names the pieces authentic, irrespective of their aesthetic origins which are from Grieg, Sinding, Svendon etc. These two versions don’t necessarily contradict themselves. An antique shop can also be a library and vice versa, and Strawinsky certainly did not use the term ‘library’ to mean as a specialist library. There were numerous reasons, with regard to Nabokov, why it was not a technical question or a question of the history of a composition, but a short casual message to describe a situation that is very small and skeletal. According to Craft years later, the matter should be seen quite differently. He conveyed to Voigt in a letter dated 25th July 1942 of the completion of, as he wrote, a Little Suite on Norwegian Folk Tunes. He gave the duration as 7 minutes. Strawinsky evidently delayed sending it to the publishers a little after he had made a connection with a group of studio musicians that gave composers the opportunity to hear their pieces in a rehearsal, i.e. they gave what was known in France at the time of Wagner as auditions. This can be construed from a letter that Strawinsky sent to Voigt on 4th September 1942. There must have been a recording of the pieces shortly afterwards. This can be seen in a letter that Strawinsky sent to Hugo Winter of Associated Music Publishers on 11th February 1944. An idea of Koussevitsky’s efforts to repeat Strawinsky’s Boston programme the next day under his own direction and to record the Circus Polka can be seen in this letter. Strawinsky advised Winter to send his recording of the Symphony, Norwegian Moods and Circus Polka to Koussevitsky, in order that he might known what they were like and that there remain no room for conjecture. – In Strawinsky’s few comments about the compositional history of the Four Norwegian Moods, he rejected claims that he used originals found by Grieg; in spite of this, Grieg’s handwriting cannot be mistaken. With the use of unaltered melodies, and especially the harmonic original, Strawinsky also certainly did use Grieg’s melodic and harmonic thinking. If one asserts that Strawinsky could not have known that the anonymous editor was in fact Grieg, although according to a letter dated 5th October 1943 to Nabokov he had recognised Grieg’s (and Sinding’s) handwriting, and one does not know whether in his bought copy the publishers’ mark was eventually made in handwriting, then he was subjectively correct when he ruled out a direct influence from the Norwegian composer. His critics were also right however, although they would not know that during their lifetimes, but Grieg’s handwriting could be identified, especially in the 2nd and 3rd pieces.

Movie Data: In the middle of 1942, the filming of an anti-Nazi propaganda war film began in Hollywood after the invasion of Norway by German troops, to which Strawinsky was to write the music. The script, which was accepted after an American directorial call-to-arms for the creation of anti-German films by Columbia Pictures, was called Commandos strike at Dawn, and worked with the typical fill-up paragraph methods of the flawless heroism on the one hand and the evil stupidity on the other. John Farrow was the director. The main roles were played by Lilian Gish and Paul Muni. The black-and-white movie has a duration of 98 (according to French sources*: 99) minutes (8,973 ft.) and is based on the story by C. S. Forester which has been published in the "Cosmopolitan magazine". Strawinsky neither watched the movie nor knew Forester's script before the scoring. He exclusively went by the screenplay. Admiral Bowen, R.N., his daughter Judith and his son Robert were on holiday at a Norwegian fjord village in summer 1939. Judith left her heart there, with Eric Toresen (Paul Muni). The Germans came to the village. Toresen led the underground war against them. In the hills he found a new German aerodrome which within a fortnight was to become a major base with hundreds of ‘planes. Toresen, with half a dozen villagers, escaped to England in a small boat. A Commando raid was made on the new aerodrome with Admiral Bowen in command, his son Robert heading the landing force and Toresen as guide. It was entirely successful, but Robert and Toresen were killed in rescuing Toresen‘s little daughter (he was a widower) and other Norwegians from the village. The distinction of this C. S. Forester story is the / feeling of reality the director has given it by exploiting natural scenery and restrained acting. Most of the scenes are out-of-doors, and the gorges of Newfoundland (eftective film substitute for Norwegian fjords) make an impressive background. Paul Muni, playing a younger role than most he has had recently, presents the transition of Torensen – from the diffident serious young man of peace to the ruthless alert franc-tireur – with a sureness of touch which is rnasterly. By contrast with the deft underplaying in the rest of his performance, the convulsions of his dying (when he is shot) are so violently gruesome that one wonders what other player could have made them convincing. Sir Cedric Hardwicke as the admiral and Robert Coote as his son have a sound supporting cast. The enthusiasm and vigour of a force of Canadian troops in the Commando battle scenes contributes in no small measure to their verisimilitude”* – The film ran with a certain amount of success from Winter 1942/43, and was shown in France ( LE COMMANDO FRAPPE A L’AUBE) but not in Germany. – The 7 songs sought out by Strawinsky resulted in 4 innocuous and idyllic pieces that were unsuited for the purposes of Hollywood as well as to the Hollywood style, so that the film people were not able to use it at all. The film was made however, but the music was written by Louis Gruenberg, an opera and concert composer born in Russia in 1883, and who grew up in New York, instead of by Strawinsky. He, like Strawinsky, did not come from the branch of film composers, but delivered a few contributions to Hollywood during the ‘40’s. That is one version. It could also be that Strawinsky, with his own ideas for film music, was not actually interested in the war film and accepted the commission only due to his financial need, as in many other cases at the time, and completed it 'with the left hand’, writing it with the intention of having his music later performed in concert. What supports this is that he wrote the Four Norwegian Moods as a concert score and exclusively to the script and some of the scenes selected from it, which ruled out its use as unedited film music from the start.

* La Saison Cinematographique 1945-47, Paris, S. 53[b-c].

** Monthly Film Bulletin, London, 30. April 1943, p.39[a-b].

Film projects: Although Strawinsky lived for many years during his time in America in immediate proximity to the film metropolis Hollywood, and there was certainly not a lack of film offers, without exception all of Strawinsky’s (just like Schönberg’s) film projects fell through. Both composers could not get the measure of having to play a supporting role with their art in a cinema film. Strawinsky had already begun work on the filming of the cartoon of Renard for Walt Disney, and the Norwegian project was from his point of view mostly completed, but the cartoon project failed, although Disney was still interested in Strawinsky, as his excerpt from Sacre featured in Fantasia had shown. The fact that the harmless Grieg imitation in the Four Norwegian Moods was not suitable for an anti-German propaganda film for the American taste, is nothing against the film makers themselves, all the less if one believes Strawinsky’s later claim that he did not write the works genuinely for the film, but for concert performance. Strawinsky reported that he was offered one hundred thousand dollars for the film music and after his refusal in spite of this, he was offered the same sum if he would only lend his name to it and allow someone else to write the music. According to Strawinsky, it was only about money with people from the film world, and thus he always liked to deal with them because they never hid behind artistic arguments. Both Schönberg and Strawinsky however refused the artistic conditions of the film people. Strawinsky cited at this opportunity Schönberg’s > Ihr tötet mich, um mich vor dem Hungertod zu retten < [ You kill me, so as to save me from starvation ] . In order to make money from a film, it must be able to be sold, and in order to sell a film profitably, it must satisfy the taste of the masses, because only from the masses can the costs be recouped. For cognoscenti, the music of Strawinsky, as well as Schönberg, was not appropriate for this, unless it was a pure art film that was being produced, such as in certain French productions by Cocteau, the focal point of which was Schönberg’s or Strawinsky’s music. This was never the case. Strawinsky did not miss to describe Schönberg’s Musik zu einer Lichtspielszene as the best film music ever in the context of the explanations about his experiences with film people, with the undercutting remark that this was probably because there was no film to it.

Significance: The appreciation of the historical significance of the pieces depends on the originals, whether they are seen as arrangements or as self-standing works. If one sees them as arrangements, then they are a well made orchestration of idiosyncratically extended folksong originals constructed in Strawinsky’s style; if one sees them as compositions, then they are worthwhile, but less exciting copies of a style of Norwegian folksongs after Grieg, the continuing awareness of which may be exclusively owing to its connection with Strawinsky’s name.

Versions: The Four Norwegian Moods were published in October 1944 as a pocket score in a print run of 1,023 copies by Associated Music Publishers in New York. The publishing contract was settled on 10th November 1942. Strawinsky received a flat fee of 500 dollars and the usual shares including his percentage share of the shop sale price of the pocket score. In the publishing year up to the middle of 1945, 152 scores were sold and 103 given away for free. Up to June 1947, 280 were sold, and 28 free copies given away. The conducting score and parts were only available to hire. Schott publishers, based in Mainz, would later take on the pocket score in their series Music of the 20th Century.

Historical recordings: New York 5th February 1945 with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Igor Strawinsky; Toronto 29th March 1963 with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Igor Strawinsky.

CD edition: VI/13-16 (Recording 1963).

Autograph: A photocopy of the autograph score from Nadia Boulanger’s estate is located in the National Library in Paris, and the short score is in the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel.

Copyright: 1944 by Associated Music Publishers, Inc., New York.


a) Overview

65-1 1944 PoSc; Associated Music Publishers New York; 48 pp.; A. p. 19449.

    65-1Straw1 ibd. [with annotations].

    65-1Straw2 [with annotations].

65-2 [1973] PoSc; Schott Mainz; 32 pp.; 43400 ; 6333.

b) Characteristic features

65-1 Igor Stravinsky / FOUR / NORWEGIAN MOODS / for orchestra / (1942) / [Vignette] / Miniature Score . . . . $ 1.75 / ASSOCIATED MUSIC PUBLISHERS, INC. / New York / Printed in U. S. A. // Igor Stravinsky / FOUR / NORWEGIAN MOODS / (1942) / [#] Page / Intrada* 2 / Song* 18 / Wedding Dance* 23 / Cortège* 37 / Orchestra material available on rental / Time 8½ minutes / ASSOCIATED MUSIC PUBLISHERS, INC. / New York / Printed in U. S. A. // (Pocket score stapled 15.2 x 23 (8° [gr. 8°]); 48 [47] pages + 4 cover pages thin cardboard black on light green-grey [front cover title with centre centred picture vignette 5,1 x 5,6 female head facing the audience crowned with a lyra centre on stage with raised curtain, 2 empty pages, empty page with shaded centre centred vignette 2.1 x 2.6 >AMP-Music<**] + 1 page front matter [title page]; title head >Four Norwegian Moods<; author specified 1st page of the score paginated p. 2 above and below movement title >Intrada< flush right centred >IGOR STRAVINSKY / 1942<; legal reservation 1st page of the score below type area inside left >Copyright, 1944, by Associated Music Publishers, Inc., New York<; production indication p. 2 below type area flush right >Printed in U.S.A.<; plate number >A. S. 19449<; without end mark) // (1944)

* Movement title flush left, fill character (dotted line), page number flush right.

** The word >Music< stands against/towards the letter >P< vertically underneath the bulge/stomach and has as a syllable the same font size as half of a single letter.


Strawinsky’s copy is signed and dated: on the outer title page on the right >IStr< above the name, and with >I Strawinsky / 27 Oct. I944< on the right of the inner title page next to >FOUR< and under >NORWEGIAN MOODS<. On the empty back page of the outer title page, he notes down a test translation > - deutlich / - rhythmi / - klar / - <. The copy contains no further corrections, only instructions to the conductor.


The second copy in the estate is unsigned and contains the following markings: >crotchet = I24< at figure 41 1above the Piccolo system, > Tempo 1°< underneath the bassoon system, and >crotchet = I24< above the Violin system for the 1st Violins.

65-2 Schott / Musik des 20. Jahrhunderts / [°] / Strawinsky / Four Norwegian Moods / for Orchestra / Vier norwegische Impressionen / für Orchester / Ed. 6333 / [vignette] // IGOR STRAWINSKY / Four Norwegian Moods / for Orchestra / (1942) / Vier norwegische Impressionen / für Orchester / Studien-Partitur / Edition Schott 6333 / B. Schott's Söhne · Mainz / Schott & Co. Ltd. · London / Schott Music Corp. · New York // (Score sewn 19.2 x 27.3 (4° [Lex. 8°]); 52 [47] pages + 4 cover pages black on bright yellow [front cover title with vignette 0.7 x 1.2 yellow on black wheel of Mainz in a frame without text, 2 empty pages creme white, page with publisher’s advertisements bright yellow >Schott / Music of the 20 th Century<* without production data] + 6 pages front matter [title page flush right, empty page, legend flush right >Orchestra< English + duration data [8½'] English<, empty page, index flush right >Intrada / Song / Wedding Dance / Cortège<, empty page] + without back matter; title head in connection with author specified and unnumbered movement title 1st page of the score unpaginated [p. 6] flush right >Igor Strawinsky / Four Norwegian Moods / (1942) / Intrada<; legal reservation 1st page of the score below type area flush right >© Associated Music Publishers, Inc., New York, 1944 / © assigned to B. Schott's Söhne, Mainz, 1968<; without end of score dated p. 52; production indication in connection with price English advertising page below advertising block flush left >Printed in Germany< flush right >70 s<; plate number [exclusively] in connection with production indication p.52 flush right as end mark >Verlag: B. Schott's Söhne, Mainz 43400<) // [1973]

° [nearly] page width dividing (horizontal) line.

* Compositions are advertised in two columns with edition numbers without fill character (dots) shown in the block of Schott scores from >Wolfgang Fortner< to >Bernd Alois Zimmermann<, amongst these >Igor Strawinsky / Ode. Triptychon für Orchester (1943) Ed. 5942 / Scherzo fantastique Ed. 3501 / Danses concertantes< Ed. 4275, in the block of the Eulenburg scores compositions from >Tadeusz Baird< to >Goffredo Petrassi< (Strawinsky not mentioned).

K Cat­a­log: Anno­tated Cat­a­log of Works and Work Edi­tions of Igor Straw­in­sky till 1971, revised version 2014 and ongoing, by Hel­mut Kirch­meyer.
© Hel­mut Kirch­meyer. All rights reserved.
https://kcatalog.org and https://kcatalog.net

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