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Edvard Grieg

1843 - 1907

Edvard Hagerup Grieg (15 June 1843 – 4 September 1907) was a Norwegian composer and pianist. He is widely considered one of the leading Romantic era composers, and his music is part of the standard classical repertoire worldwide. His use and development of Norwegian folk music in his own compositions put the music of Norway in the international spectrum, as well as helping to develop a national identity, much as Jean Sibelius and Antonín Dvořák did in Finland and Bohemia, respectively.

Edvard Grieg, born in Bergen, Norway, received music lessons from his mother at the age of six. In 1853 he was sent to the Leipzig Conservatoire where he studied piano and composition. He did not enjoy life at the Conservatoire; in 1860 he had to take time off after suffering a violent attack of pleurisy that left him with recurring respiratory troubles. He returned to Norway in 1862 and the following year travelled to Copenhagen m order to forge a career as a pianist. There he met his cousin and future-wife, Nina Hayerup.

At this time Norwegian culture was heavily overshadowed by Danish influence. As Grieg grew older, however, he becameincreasingly conscious of the musical potential of his own country's folk-culture and began to promote Norwegian nationalism by writing pieces based on traditional popular music.

In 1867 he produced his first set of miniature pieces for piano, the Lyric pieces, which consists of eight short movements in contrasting moods. Over the course of his life he wrote nine further collections under the same title, each gathering together between six and eight short but beautifully constructed movements of an individual character. The following year Grieg finished what has become one of his best-known pieces, the Piano concerto in A minor. It is a striking and technically demanding work that retains much of its original freshness even today.

Grieg started work on the suite Peer Gynt when the playwright Ibsen asked him to provide music for his play of that name. The first performance m 1 876 was a resounding success and made Grieg into a national figure overnight. In the same year he attended and thoroughly enjoyed the first performance of Wagner's cycle of four operas, Der Ring des Nibelungen (The ring cycle). Yet musically the two composers could not be further apart: Wagner produced colossal pieces lasting over tour hours while Grieg concentrated on concise and beautiful miniatures.

In 1884 Grieg accepted a commission to write a piece to commemorate the bicentenary of the birth of the Norwegian philosopher and playwright, Ludvig Holberg. The resulting Holberg suite is a five-movement piece for piano written in the manner of an eighteenth-century dance suite. Several months later he arranged it for string orchestra, in which form the lyrical and graceful music has become popular.

By 1885 Grieg had established a considerable reputation. He built himself a house at Troldhaugen, where he lived for the rest of his life. Over the next 20 years he managed to establish a pattern of composing in the spring and early summer, fitting in a walking holiday in late summer and then spending the autumn and winter on lengthy concert tours. The impulse to travel never left him and even in his final years he continued with gruelling concert schedules around Europe. In the last year of his life he visited Berlin and Kiel; he was making plans to leave for England when he was taken ill and died. He was buried near his house in the wall of a cliff which overhangs a fjord.

Grieg shied away from the larger forms of musical expression, such as the symphony and the opera, but in his preferred field - as a miniaturist — he is without equal. His music, highly individual and with a nationalist flavour, has almost universal appeal.

Key Works

Symphony in C minor by Edvard Grieg  

1. Allegro molto
2. Adagio espressivo
3. Allegro energico
4. Finale-Allegro molto vivace Bergen

Piano Concerto in A minor, Op 16

1 Allegro molto moderato
2 Adagio
3 Allegro moderato molto e marcato

Peer Gynt Suites - No 1 and No 2

Suite No. 1, Op. 46 (1888): 
I. Morning Mood (Morgenstemning) 00:01
II. The Death of Åse (Åses død) 04:31
III. Anitra's Dance (Anitras dans) 09:39
IV. In the Hall of the Mountain King (I Dovregubbens hall) 13:14

Suite No. 2, Op. 55 (1891):
I. The Abduction of the Bride. Ingrid's Lament (Bruderovet. Ingrids klage) 15:48
II. Arabian Dance (Arabisk dans) 20:14
III. Peer Gynt's Homecoming (Stormy Evening on the Sea) (Peer Gynts hjemfart (Stormfull aften på havet)) 24:58
IV. Solveig's Song (Solveigs sang) 27:36

Holberg Suite, Op. 40

1. Preludio (Allegro vivace) (00.10)
2. Sarabande (Andante) (03.10)
3. Gavotta (Allegretto) (07.32)
4. Aria (Andante religioso) (10.52) 
5. Rigaudon (Allegro con brio) (16.38)

Two Elegiac Melodies, Op. 34

1. Heart Wounds
2. Last Spring

Norwegian Dances

I. Allegro marcato ∙
II. Allegretto tranquillo e grazioso ∙
III. Allegro moderato alla Marcia - Tranquillo ∙
IV. Allegro molto - Presto e con brio - Prestissimo ∙

Edvard Grieg and Nina Hagerup 
(Grieg's wife and first cousin) in 1899

String Quartet No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 27

String Quartet No. 1 in g minor, Op. 27 (for 2 violins, viola and cello)
I. Un poco andante - Allegro molto ed agitato
II. Romanze. Andantino
III. Intermezzo. Allegro molto marcato - Più vivo e scherzando
IV. Finale. Lento - Presto al saltarello 

Sonata for piano in E Minor, Op 7 No. 1

1.Allegro moderato
2.Andante molto
3.Quasi menuetto, ma poco pìù lento
4.Finale. Molto allegro.

24 Lyric Pieces

Arietta op.12 n°1 0:00
Waltz op.12 n°2 1:20
Watchman's Song op.12 n°3 3:22
Fairy Dance op.12 n°4 6:30
Norwegian Dance Halling op.38 n°4 7:28
Kanon op.38 n°8 8:25
Butterfly op.43 n°1 13:26
To the Spring op.43 n°6 15:24
Valse-Impromptu op.47 n°1 20:14
Norwegian Dance Gangar op.54 n°2 23:28
Scherzo op.54 n°5 27:14
Bell ringing op.54 n°6 30:42
Secret op.57 n°4 34:17
She dances op.57 n°5 39:45
Home-Sickness op.57 n°6 42:56
Phantom op.62 n°5 47:55
Wedding-Day in Troldhaugen op.65 n°6 50:22
Evening in the moutains op.68 n°4 56:40
Puck op.71 n°3 1:00:18
Peace of the woods op.71 n°4 1:02:14
Gone op.71 n°6 1:07:29
Remembrances op.71 n°7 1:09:59
Summer evening op.71 n°2 1:12:10
Notturno op.54 n°4 1:15:04

Sviatoslav Richter

Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 3 in C minor, Op. 45

I. Allegro molto ed appassionato
II. Allegretto espressivo alla Romanza
III. Allegro animato - Prestissimo

Sonata for cello and piano in a minor Op.36

1.Allegro agitato 0:012.
Andante molto tranquillo 9:55
Allegro 17:03

Solveigs Lied

"Ich liebe dich"

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