This is the fourth piece in Book I of Grieg's nearly
career-long series of piano works called Lyric Pieces.
The first volume of the eventual ten in the collection
of 66 pieces was published in 1867 and the last in
1901. This attractive work, Elves' Dance, is one of
several in the series mixing fantasy with folk-like
music, as in the more famous later example from Book V,
March of the Trolls, Op. 54. This earlier piece is one
of the shortest in any volume, generally having a
duration of a bit less than a minute. That brevity does
not limit its appeal, however -- this is simply one of
the more charming works in Book I. The piece opens in a
playful mood, sounding more like a chase than a dance.
There is a mixture of mischief and merriment here, of
humor and high spirits, all to yield a colorful, lively
work of great appeal. The theme consists of five
rapidly played chords answered by playful swirling
notes, the two elements exchanging volleys throughout
the piece. The music is always graceful in its
playfulness, delicate in its menace, and masterfully
atmospheric in its deft sense for fantasy.
Although originally created for Piano, I created this
arrangement of the Alvedans (Elves' Dance) for Flute &