Morning Mood

"Morning Mood" (Norwegian: Morgenstemning i ørkenen, lit.'Morning mood in the desert') is part of Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt, Op. 23, written in 1875 as incidental music to Henrik Ibsen's play of the same name, and was also included as the first of four movements in Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46.



Written in E major, the melody uses the pentatonic scale and alternates between flute and oboe. Unusually, the climax occurs early in the piece at the first forte which signifies the sun breaking through.[1] The time signature is 6
and the tempo instruction is Allegretto pastorale. It is orchestrated for flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns, trumpets, timpani, and string section. A performance takes about four minutes.


The piece depicts the rising of the sun during act 4, scene 4, of Ibsen's play, which finds Peer Gynt stranded in the Moroccan desert after his companions took his yacht and abandoned him there while he slept. The scene begins with the following description: "Dawn. Acacias and palm trees. Peer [Gynt] is sitting in his tree using a wrenched-off branch to defend himself against a group of monkeys."[2]

As the Peer Gynt suites take their pieces out of the original context of the play, "Morning Mood" is not widely known in its original setting, and images of Grieg's Scandinavian origins more frequently spring to the minds of its listeners than those of the desert it was written to depict.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Edvard Grieg (1843–1907) Vol. 4: Peer Gynt Suites; Orchestral Songs, Naxos Records, liner notes by Bjarte Engeset
  2. ^ Ibsen, Henrik (2016). "Act 4, Scene 4". Peer Gynt [Peer Gynt and Brand]. Translated by Hill, Geoffrey. Penguin.
  3. ^ Jeal, Erica (2001-08-11). "Prom 27: Peer Gynt". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2012-01-02. Retrieved 2012-01-02. one listened differently to "Morning" on discovering that it doesn't illustrate dawn in the fjords but a hazy sunrise in the middle of the Sahara.

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