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"The Siege of Lemongrad"

Title The Siege of Lemongrad
ComposerF.G.J. Absil
Instrum.Symphony Orchestra
StyleSymphonic poem in socialist realism idiom
KeyCm, Ab, Gm
Meter3/4, 4/4
Tempo108, 112, 120, 136 BPM


A musical score excerpt
  • Piccolo, Flute 1-2, Oboe 1-2, Clarinet in Eb, Clarinet in Bb 1-2, Bass Clarinet, Bassoon 1-2, Contrabassoon;
  • Horns in F 1-2-3, Trumpet in Bb 1-2-3, Trombone 1-2, Bass Trombone, Bass Tuba;
  • Harp, Piano;
  • Percussion (4 players): Glockenspiel, Xylophone, Bass Drum, Crash Cymbal, Piatti, Snare Drum, Suspended Cymbal, Tambourine, Timpani, Triangle;
  • String section: Violin 1, Violin 2, Viola, Cello, Contrabass.


YouTube video of the composition The Siege of Lemongrad by Frans Absil The composition 'The Siege of Lemongrad' is a symphonic poem for orchestra. This piece tells the story about the siege of a fictitious city. It consists of suspense, heroic and bombastic battle scene music, in a quasi-nationalistic and socialist realism style.

The piece is divided into the following sections:

  • m. 1-29: Introduction (92 and 108 BPM, 3/4). Brass phrase, main and derived theme, imitation for solo woodwinds and trumpet, strings pizzicato accents.
  • m. 30-68: Threat and suspense. [A] Transition for clarinet, bassoon and pizzicato strings. [B] Staccato block chords for woodwinds, strings and brass in juxtaposition. [C] Transition for unisono woodwinds and pizzicato strings.
  • m. 69-126: Battle scene music 1 (136 BPM, 4/4), [D] 3-part fugato for strings, battle theme for unisono woodwinds a2. Brass fanfare phrases. [E] Second fugato subsection. Battle theme for unisono low brass. Tutti climax. [F] Transition for solo piano and woodwind stretto imitation. Second tutti climax.
  • m. 127-142: Transition (108 BPM). [G] Flute and oboe phrases over string pedal point. [H] Main theme variation for flute and clarinet over extended pedal point,
  • m. 143-174: March (120 BPM). [I] Clarinet and flute theme over strings pizzicato. [J] March theme 2nd statement as 3-part brass setting. [K] 3rd statement, mocking solo trumpet, tutti climax.
  • m. 175-180: Transition (112 BPM, 3/4). [L] Flute and clarinet unisono over strings pizzicato.
  • m. 181-204: Battle scene music 2 (112-124 BPM, 4/4), [M] 3-part fugato for pizzicato strings, woodwinds and trumpet, battle theme for clarinet and horns a2, muted trumpet and trombone. Tutti climax.
  • m. 205-227: Coda (112 BPM). [N] Solo clarinet over pedal point. Accented brass phrases, with main theme quotes in woodwinds and strings.

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