Work: Last Spring
About This Work
In the period between 1877 - 1880, Grieg produced a set of songs as his Op. 33 on texts by a man some called the peasant-poet of Norway, Aasmund Vinje (1818 - 1870). The composer had been greatly inspired by the then-late poet's verses, so much so
that after completing the set, he decided to arrange two of its songs for string orchestra, this one The Last Spring and The Wounded Heart. He made piano versions of them as well. The Last Spring is a sad piece, but sad in the heart-on-sleeve sense of Tchaikovsky, not in the dark, neurotic manner of Mahler. In the song version, the text tells of a dying man who is aware he is observing his last spring. The main theme in the instrumental versions is nostalgic and features considerable expressive depth, especially considering Grieg's penchant for lightness of mood even in melancholy works. It has an air of resignation about it, but as it struggles on, its manner sweetens a bit, nearly suggesting hope. Still, these brighter moments are only fleeting, as the music remains largely dark and anguished. The piano version is perhaps a bit bleaker, but also less lyrical than the warmer string orchestra account. The piece typically lasts about four minutes.
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