Nevin: Narcissus (from ‘Water Scenes’)


Nevin’s ‘Narcissus’ is a delightfully sentimental – and highly successful – miniature presented here in an arrangement for wind quintet.

  • Instruments : Fl. Ob. Cl.(in Bb) Hn. Bsn.
  • Difficulty : C – approx. ABRSM Grade 5
  • Duration : 1’45
  • ISMN : 979-0-708088-54-7
  • Portus Press reference : PPQ27


Composed in 1891 by the American, Ethelbert Nevin, Narcissus is the fourth of five pieces in his Water Scenes suite.  This delightful miniature became a huge success and easily his best-known work, although Nevin always considered it a rather trivial composition.  Nevin’s style was gentle, lyrical and sentimental: comfortingly old fashioned you might say.  But he had no pretensions to creating groundbreaking work, saying that, “While I am doing nothing great, I am doing the best I can and I am going to leave behind me, if it is possible, a trail of sunshine.”  Even if Narcissus  was his sole legacy, you’d have to agree that he certainly succeeded. 

Originally for piano, Narcissus has appeared in many guises over the years, including a delightful comical rendition by Norman Wisdom and Joyce Grenfell called The Laughing Song .

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