Greensleeves, Op. 2c

for Orchestra (3.2.3.2, 4.3.3.1, T+3, Strings)

Opus 2c, 2021

Duration: 4m

Available for rental

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  • Greensleeves -SO- - Greensleeves
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PDF Perusal Score

The melody of Greensleeves was known as a popular English folk song about unrequited love long before its use as the melody for the Christmas hymn, “What Child Is This?” It dates back to at least c. 1580, where it is first found in published form in William Ballet's lute book.

I originally wrote this setting for British brass band in 2002. In 2010 I adapted the work for wind band, which I felt added a lot to its color and character. After completing my long-delayed Master in Composition in 2021, I revisited the work, revising it somewhat based on everything I had learned in the intervening years, and to accommodate my 2021 tastes and preferences. In the process, I created this version for Symphony Orchestra, which turned out to be my favorite version!

My goal in writing this arrangement was to present a fresh perspective of an oft-heard melody, and continually keeping it fresh with different textures, key centers, and countermelodies. The work begins very softly, with a short introductory fanfare in the horns and muted trumpets. This motive later becomes an important accompaniment part during the final iterations of the chorus. At first, the texture is very thin and delicate. But gradually, more and more parts are added, leading up to the big rousing coda at the end. The effect is one giant, 4-minute crescendo.