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Edvard Grieg & Henrik Ibsen: Peer Gynt

Grieg / Jennings / Jacobi / Radio Suisse Romande
Release Date: 04/01/2009 
Label:  Aeon   Catalog #: 642   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Sophie KochVegar VardalInger Dam-JensenDietrich Henschel
Conductor:  Guillaume Tourniaire
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande OrchestraGeneva Motet Choir
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 3 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The English translation excellently acted gives this fiery Peer new appeal.

Based on concerts the Suisse Romande Orchestra gave in Geneva and Lausanne, Guillaume Tourniaire's performance of the Benestad/Andersen critical edition of the score (essentially the 26 numbers given at the play's 1876 premiere) first appeared in 2005 (A/05). In my Gramophone Collection piece on Peer Gynt in November of that year I would have hailed it unreservedly as the best complete version of Grieg's theatre music had the dialogue and melodramas not been spoken in French. Now those spoken passages have been rendered into English, in a translation by Stephen Taylor which resonates without either period whimsy or banal updating.
Read more /> The linking narrations and filleting of the play by Main Perroux have been made with sharp knowledge of the Ibsen drama and of what works in concert and on disc. The national characteristics of the actors intriguingly alter the feel of the piece. While Lambert Wilson and his French colleagues are more distanced, Brechtian and mysterious, the British trio immediately embrace a warmer, more comic naturalism. Alex Jennings's voice grows from rough Ulster into an assumed English RP as Peer travels the world; Derek Jacobi is a cunning mix of spooky and funny as the Boyg, here called the Great Obstacle, and no less effective in 10 other parts; Haydn Gwynne hops with enjoyable confidence across the age and sanity barriers from Peer's mother to his various girl friends.

Tourniaire has as much of an eye on the drama as the exceptional discs of excerpts under Beecham (EMI) and Masur (Philips). He has intuited and delivered a true Grieg style from his orchestra, alert, light, swift but not afraid to punch home the ironies (of the Trolls' various numbers) and the intentionally noisy stage effect climaxes (like the Act 5 shipwreck music). The two big melodramas ("Peer and the Obstacle" and "Night Scene") — perhaps the most compelling reasons for getting to know the complete score — find Grieg at his most progressive and inventive and Tourniaire paces them beautifully. Even his rits and rails in the tricky little vocal numbers of Peer's African sojourn in Act 4 come off to a tee.

With English-speaking listeners now as well catered for as French ones, Aeon should seriously consider a Norwegian version, even retaining Perroux's taut narrative material. The Ole Kristian Ruud/Bergen BIS Norwegian set (A105) is authentically self-recommending but it lacks the special fire and imagination of Tourniaire's.

-- Mike Ashman, Gramophone [3/2007]
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Works on This Recording

1. Peer Gynt, Op. 23 by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Sophie Koch (Mezzo Soprano), Vegar Vardal (Hardanger Fiddle), Inger Dam-Jensen (Soprano),
Dietrich Henschel (Baritone)
Conductor:  Guillaume Tourniaire
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Geneva Motet Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875/1892; Norway 

Sound Samples

Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act I: The Adbuction of the Bride: At the Wedding (Prelude to Act I)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act I: The Adbuction of the Bride: Peer Gynt, You're a Liar! (Peer Gynt, Ase, Narrator)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act I: The Adbuction of the Bride, Halling: Down there is Haegstad (Peer Gynt)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act I: The Adbuction of the Bride: The Bride? Well, of Course She's Crying a Bit ...
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act I: The Adbuction of the Bride, Springar: Are You the Boy Who Wanted to Dance?
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act I: The Adbuction of the Bride: Well, Boys, the Blacksmith Has Arrived!
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act II: Peer Gynt and the Trolls: Ingrid's Lament (Prelude to Act II)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act II: Peer Gynt and the Trolls: Go Away Ingrid, Leave Me Alone! (Peer Gynt, Narrator)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act II: Peer Gynt and the Trolls: Peer Gynt and the Cattle-Girls
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act II: Peer Gynt and the Trolls: Montain Heights! (Peer Gynt, Narrator)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act II: Peer Gynt and the Trolls: Peer Gynt and the Girl in Green
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act II: Peer Gynt and the Trolls: Is It True? (Peer Gynt, Anitra, Narrator)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act II: Peer Gynt and the Trolls: You Recognise a Great Man By His Mount! (Peer Gynt)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act II: Peer Gynt and the Trolls: In the Hall of the Mountain King (Chorus)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act II: Peer Gynt and the Trolls: Troll People, We Must Keep Calm! (King of the Trolls, Peer Gynt)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act II: Peer Gynt and the Trolls: Danse of the Mountain King's Daughter
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act II: Peer Gynt and the Trolls: What Do You Make of It? (Peer Gynt, King of the Trolls)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act II: Peer Gynt and the Trolls: Peer Gynt Pursued By the Trolls (Peer Gynt, Chorus)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act II: Peer Gynt and the Trolls: Peer Gynt and the Obstacle (Peer Gynt, Obstacle)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act III: The Death of Ase: In a Dense Pine-Forest, Far Away From Men ... (Narrator)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act III: The Death of Ase: The Death of Ase (Prelude to Act lll)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act III: The Death of Ase: One Day, While Peer Is Cutting Wood ... (Narrator, Peer Gynt, Ase)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act III: The Death of Ase: Giddy Up! Make Haste, My Black Horse! (Peer Gynt, Ase)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act IV: Peer Gynt in Africa: Morning Mood (Prelude to Act IV)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act IV: Peer Gynt in Africa: Peer Gynt Has Travelled the World (Narrator, Peer Gynt)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act IV: Peer Gynt in Africa: The Thief and the Receiver
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act IV: Peer Gynt in Africa: The Desert Is Vaste and Limitless! (Peer Gynt)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act IV: Peer Gynt in Africa: Arabian Danse (Chorus)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act IV: Peer Gynt in Africa: My Prophet and My Master!
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act IV: Peer Gynt in Africa: Anitra's Dance
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act IV: Peer Gynt in Africa: Anitra, True Daughter of Eve! (Peer Gynt)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act IV: Peer Gynt in Africa: Peer Gynt's Serenade
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act IV: Peer Gynt in Africa: Peer Gynt Has Carried Away the Farouche and Lovely Anitra! (Narrator)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act IV: Peer Gynt in Africa: Leave Me Alone or I'll Bite You! (Peer, Anitra)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act IV: Peer Gynt in Africa: On the Same Summer's Day, Far Away In the North ... (Narrator)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act IV: Peer Gynt in Africa: Solveig's Song (Solvieg)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act IV: Peer Gynt in Africa: Peer Gynt Has Taken to Wandering Again (Narrator)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act IV: Peer Gynt in Africa: Peer Gynt at the Statue of Memnon
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act V: Peer Gynt's Homecoming: So Many Years Have Past, so Much Has Happened ... (Narrator)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act V: Peer Gynt's Homecoming: Stormy Evening On the See (Prelude to Act V)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act V: Peer Gynt's Homecoming: Good Evening (Passenger, Peer Gynt)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act V: Peer Gynt's Homecoming: Shipwreck
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act V: Peer Gynt's Homecoming: Peer Gynt ... Survives (Narrator, Peer Gynt)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act V: Peer Gynt's Homecoming: If I Die One Day ...
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act V: Peer Gynt's Homecoming: Solveig Sings In Her Hut
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act V: Peer Gynt's Homecoming, Night Scene: Ashes, Mist and Windswept Dust ...
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act V: Peer Gynt's Homecoming: Good Evening Old Man
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act V: Peer Gynt's Homecoming: Whitsun Hymn (The Faithful)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act V: Peer Gynt's Homecoming, Whitsun Hymn: I Have Encountered the Faithfull ... (Peer Gynt)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act V: Peer Gynt's Homecoming: So, Peer Gynt, Where Is the Register of Your Sins? Act V: Peer Gynt's Homecoming: So, Peer Gynt, Where Is the Register of Your Sins? (Peer Gynt, Button-Moulder)
Peer Gynt, Op. 23 (Sung in English): Act V: Peer Gynt's Homecoming: Solveig's Cradle Song

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