Suite for Klaver, op. 21

Herman D. Koppel
Piano solo
B4, 12 pages

The suite op. 21 is not Koppel’s earliest piano work, but is one of the freshest and most original of his early pieces. Koppel had the suite in his own concert repertoire throughout his life and also recorded it. It is inspired by exotic music from Africa, Asia and eastern Europe. An extra colouring comes from jazz, which made its appearance in Danish music when Koppel was young. Koppel was very interested in the way rhythm was liberated in jazz and world music. 

In the vital first movement the piano is used for primitivist repetitions and intense chording with percussive effects. The thundering dissonances and the pounding rhythm were a clear break with the tradition from Carl Nielsen and were instead influenced by Bela Bartók’s piano music. 
The third movement is inspired by gamelan music from Bali, to which Koppel had been introduced by his friend, the composer Bernhard Christense. A melée of pentatonic figures makes the movement an overwhelming and abrupt finale.

Koppel gave the suite its first performance in 1933, but he was still not quite satisfied with the second movement. He took the work with him on a study trip to Paris, where he immersed himself at the Museum of Ethnography in gamelan music and other exotic recordings. A film with African song and dance persuaded him to write a brand new second movement where an innocent, playful melody is contrasted with dark, violent eruptions in the bass.

The new version of the suite was given its first performance in Norway at the Nordic Music Days in 1934. The next year it was one of the first works by Koppel to be published as sheet music. Koppel sent a copy to his idol Bela Bartók, who thanked him with a friendly postcard.

OTHER WORKS BY Herman D. Koppel



  • Score DKK132.50(€ ~17.75)
    (Prices incl. 25% EU VAT)

For information about our rental prices, please contact the Rentals Department:

If you have any questions or difficulties, please do not hesitate to contact us by email or phone +45 33 13 54 45.

QR Code