Edvard Grieg

Biography

Born: 1843   Died: 1907   Country: Norway   Period: Romantic
Composer Edvard Grieg, the icon of Norwegian music, left his home in Bergen, Norway to study at the conservatory in Leipzig. There he began his formal musical education under the auspices of Ignaz Moscheles (piano) and Carl Reinecke (composition). While in school, the young composer saw the premiere of his first work, his String Quartet in D minor, performed in Karlshamn, Sweden. Despite being diagnosed with a form of tuberculosis, which left him Read more with only one functioning lung, Grieg graduated from the conservatory in 1862. The composer had an intense desire to develop a national style of composition, but recognized the importance of becoming well versed in the work of the European masters, and consequently relocated to Copenhagen, studying with Niels Gade. He was thus able to remain in Scandanavia, while working in a thriving cultural center. In 1867 against his family's better judgment, Grieg married his cousin Nina Hagerup, a talented pianist, but whose vocal abilities enchanted the composer even more. Shortly after their wedding, the couple moved to Oslo, where Grieg supported them by teaching piano and conducting. He and his wife traveled extensively throughout Europe and it was during a period of time spent in Denmark, the composer wrote his landmark opus, the Piano Concerto in A minor. The premiere was given in 1869, with Edmund Neupert as the soloist. The piece was received with an enthusiasm that would attach itself to the composer's reputation for the remainder of his career.

Grieg admired his literary contemporaries and forged a productive partnership with Bjötjerne Björnson, playwright and poet, with whom he staged performances of such works as Before a Southern Convert, and Bergliot. While Björnson struggled with his output, Grieg met and befriended Henrik Ibsen. The forthcoming collaboration would prove significant for both, as Grieg would supply incidental music to Ibsen's Peer Gynt. The premiere was performed to critical acclaim and eventually led to Grieg's scoring of Peer Gynt into Suites 1 and 2 (1888 and 1893 respectively).

As a result of the success of Peer Gynt, Grieg enjoyed tremendous celebrity and continued to travel extensively, often meeting internationally renowned composers such as Tchaikovsky, Brahms, and Liszt, among others. In addition to a grant he was awarded in 1874, Grieg was able to earn the majority of his money by adhering to a vigorous schedule of recital tours. He served briefly as the music director of the Bergen Symphony Orchestra, and from 1880-1882, held the same position at the Bergen Harmonien. In 1885, Grieg and his wife relocated once again, this time to his native Bergen, Norway, where he built their celebrated home, Troldhaugen. The property, a popular tourist destination to this day, features a secondary building overlooking the water, which the composer used as his work area, as he could only work in solitude. He and his wife summered in Norway and departed each fall for European tours that would last the remainder of the year. Grieg also conducted extensively throughout his country.

Grieg was adored wherever he traveled and lived at a pace that would eventually catch up with him. Grieg died of chronic fatigue, with much credit given to his lifelong health problems, in his hometown of Bergen.

Norway's most famous composer, dedicated his career to the pursuit of a national sound. The respect he had for his predecessors illustrates the sincerity with which he worked towards this goal. He wrote in the Romantic tradition with, in his own words, the determination to "create a national form of music, which could give the Norwegian people an identity." Read less
Tchaikovsky, Grieg: Piano Concertos / Stewart Goodyear
Release Date: 06/10/2014   Label: Steinway & Sons  
Catalog: 30035   Number of Discs: 1
On sale! $17.99
CD: $14.99
In Stock
MP3 Available
On sale!   $17.99   CD:  $14.99 Add CD to Cart

MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

Grieg: Symphonic Dances, Etc / Rozhdestvensky
Release Date: 02/22/2005   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 10287   Number of Discs: 1
On sale! $11.99
CD: $8.99
Low Stock
MP3 Available
On sale!   $11.99   CD:  $8.99 Add CD to Cart

MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

Grieg, Medtner: 3rd Sonatas
Release Date: 01/28/2014   Label: Fondamenta  
Catalog: 902002   Number of Discs: 1
On sale! $21.99
CD: $18.49
In Stock
On sale!   $21.99   CD:  $18.49 Add CD to Cart

Grieg, Janacek, Kodaly / Danjulo Ishizaka, Shai Wosner
Release Date: 07/08/2014   Label: Onyx  
Catalog: 4120   Number of Discs: 1
On sale! $21.98
CD: $17.99
In Stock
On sale!   $21.98   CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

Grieg, Kuhlau: Piano Concertos / Malling, Schonwandt
Release Date: 01/19/1999   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 9699   Number of Discs: 1
On sale! $18.99
CD: $14.99
In Stock
MP3 Available
On sale!   $18.99   CD:  $14.99 Add CD to Cart

MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

Work: Holberg Suite

 

About This Work
While most every work, large or small, produced by composer Edvard Grieg bears the stamp of rightness and focused simplicity, writing music did not always come easily to him. During many of his earlier years, other duties were necessary for making Read more ends meet -- directing the Harmonien Orchestra of Bergen, for example. Even over his final two decades, Grieg was obliged to undertake grueling tours as a piano soloist. In 1885, a new home, Troldhaugen, began to provide a place of solitude and comfort. Despite the fact that Ludvig Holberg (1684-1754) lived most of his life in Denmark and was considered the father of Danish literature, his birthplace was Bergen, Norway, and on the bicentenary of his birth, Norwegians heartily celebrated. Even as a resident of Denmark, Holberg recalled his childhood in his works and celebrated the time he spent there. Educated at the universities of Copenhagen and Oxford, Holberg is regarded as having established Danish as a literary language. Prior to his time, Danish was employed only in ballads and hymns; plays were presented in French or German. Besides more than a dozen successful plays (several of them comedies), he wrote a history of his adopted country and published a collection of philosophical treatises. Notwithstanding his stronger relationship to Denmark, Norwegians were pleased to acknowledge Holberg, and Grieg, also a Bergen native, was one of those who directed the planning for the event. As early as 1878, he contributed a fee from his publisher toward the construction of a Holberg statue in Bergen. Further, he wrote two works, the first for male voices, a Cantata for the Unveiling of the Holberg Memorial, and a second (of more lasting consequence) entitled From Holberg's Time: Suite in Olden Style. Grieg himself premiered the piano suite just days after the dedication of the memorial. Its great success led Grieg to score it for string orchestra the following year, and both versions enjoy enduring popularity. The suite in five sections was intended by Grieg to recall the dance suites that might have been heard during Holberg's lifetime, which roughly corresponded to the period of the late Baroque. The first section, marked "Praeludium," is of such simple radiance that it unforgettably imprints itself on the listener's consciousness. Its predominant cadence, a gently skipping motif, is heard in clusters of three, the second and third each descending a whole tone. The contrasting Sarabande moves soberly, reflectively, and with unfailing elegance. The Gavotte that forms the third section beguilingly trips over the course of its three minutes, yielding to the Andante religioso tempo of the Aria. The final section, a Rigaudon, returns the listener to the buoyant mood of the beginning prelude. Through each of the five sections, the level of invention is matched by a refinement and purity of feeling that marks this as among the most cherishable short works of the late nineteenth century.

-- AllMusic.com
Read less

Select a specific Conductor, Ensemble or Label or browse recordings by Formats & Featured below

or
ArkivMusic Recommendation