for Wind Ensemble or Concert Band
Duration: 4m / Grade 5
The melody of Greensleeves was known as a popular English folksong 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 arrangement for brass band in 2002. In 2010 I adapted the work for Wind Ensemble, which I feel adds a lot to its color and character.
My goal in writing this arrangement was to continually keep the melody fresh with different textures, key centers, and countermelodies to hold the listener’s interest.
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 dramatic coda at the end. The effect of the piece is one giant crescendo.