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Gemini - Grieg: Orchestral Works, Etc / Barbirolli, Et Al


Release Date: 05/24/2005 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 86513   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Daniel Adni
Conductor:  Sir John BarbirolliSir Thomas BeechamPaavo BerglundPaul Tortelier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé OrchestraRoyal Philharmonic OrchestraBournemouth Symphony Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 28 Mins. 

CD not available: This title is currently only available as an MP3 download.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

After submitting a double review of two new Peer Gynts, it’s refreshing to encounter a wide-ranging program of works by Grieg that contain something other than his incidental music to Ibsen’s play. Edvard Grieg (1843–1907) was a more versatile and accomplished composer than some realize. Grieg is largely typecast by his big-hit piano concerto, half-a-dozen numbers from Peer Gynt, and his Lyric Suite; so much of his music, including a much neglected Symphony in C Minor and a superb String Quartet in G minor, is not all that widely known. At least his three violin sonatas and a cello sonata have received their fair due.

The current release is another in EMI’s “Gemini” series of offerings compiled from their extensive back
Read more catalogs. The earliest recorded item here is Sir Thomas Beecham’s In Autumn from 1955. Most recent are Berglund’s Symphonic Dances and Old Norwegian Romance with Variations, both from 1981 and both digitally recorded. Given EMI’s penchant for repackaging, I am fairly confident that all of this material has been available in previous incarnations. Nonetheless, having it all together in a budget-priced twin-pack is welcome.

To collectors this set will be self-recommending for the Beecham and Barbirolli contributions. Sir Thomas of course has long been a conductor admired and beloved by many. Barbirolli, on the other hand, though he never managed to achieve Beecham’s everyman popularity, was always regarded by a smaller in-the-know crowd as a conductor of extraordinary vision and insight. He is only now, I think, winning wider recognition as more of his recordings become known. Barbirolli’s Mahler is a must-hear. His Norwegian Dances and Lyric Suite on disc 1 of the current release are alone worth the price of the set. Radiant and resplendent are two words that come to mind to describe the playing of the Hallé Orchestra under Barbirolli’s baton.
Not that this is to diminish Paavo Berglund and his Bournemouth band. Their Symphonic Dances and Old Norwegian Romance with Variations are beautifully played and recorded as well.

Beecham’s sole contribution to this enterprise is Grieg’s concert overture titled In Autumn, but it’s a real winner. In addition, it’s a bit of a rarity. Grieg composed it in 1866 while in Rome. The original version somehow became lost, so he rewrote it, presumably from memory or sketches, for piano duet. Twenty years later, he re-orchestrated it. I had never heard the piece before, and I was stunned. The overtures of Berlioz and, to an even greater extent the tone poems of Liszt, strike me as major influences, but comes a Norwegian forest moment at 8:30 that only Grieg could have written. My mouth literally dropped open when I heard the recording. It is hard to believe it was taped in 1955, so phenomenal is the sound. It is also hard to believe, from the evidence of the performance, the oft-told legend of Beecham’s reputed casualness on the podium. The overture sounds to me like very technically taxing work for the orchestra’s musicians, yet they play with absolute unanimity and perfect control. If Beecham was an undisciplined maestro, it certainly doesn’t show up here.

Grieg wrote a great deal of music for solo piano, among which are no fewer than 10 collections comprising a total of 66 pieces he designated, somewhat generically, Lyric Pieces. Drawing from Books 1 and 2, pianist Daniel Adni gives us nine numbers. They are well enough played and nice to have as filler, but they don’t really fit into EMI’s “Orchestral Works” rubric, and they are readily available in more complete versions dedicated to Grieg’s solo piano music. Still, I was happy to be listening to something besides another extract from Peer Gynt.
Unless you already have these recordings in previous EMI pressings, it should be obvious by now that I am giving this Gemini set a very strong recommendation.

Jerry Dubins, FANFARE
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sigurd Jorsalfar Suite, Op. 56: Homage March by Edvard Grieg
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1872/1892; Norway 
Date of Recording: 08/06/1969 
2.
Norwegian Dances (4) for Piano 4 hands, Op. 35 by Edvard Grieg
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881; Norway 
Date of Recording: 05/22/1970 
Notes: Arranger: Hans Sitt. 
3.
Lyric Suite for Orchestra, Op. 54 by Edvard Grieg
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891/1904; Norway 
Date of Recording: 08/06/1969 
4.
In Autumn Overture, Op. 11 by Edvard Grieg
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1866/1887; Norway 
Date of Recording: 11/17/1955 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 11 Minutes 25 Secs. 
5.
Old Norwegian Romance with Variations for 2 Pianos, Op. 51 by Edvard Grieg
Conductor:  Paavo Berglund
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Norway 
Notes: Version: 1900-05
Composition written: Norway (1890).
Composition revised: Norway (1900 - 1905). 
6.
Symphonic Dances (4), Op. 64 by Edvard Grieg
Conductor:  Paavo Berglund
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896-1897; Norway 
7.
From Holberg's Time, Op. 40 by Edvard Grieg
Conductor:  Paul Tortelier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Northern Sinfonia
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1884; Norway 
8.
Elegiac Melodies (2) for Strings, Op. 34 by Edvard Grieg
Conductor:  Paul Tortelier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Northern Sinfonia
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881; Norway 
9.
Lyric Pieces (8), Book 1, Op. 12: no 1, Arietta by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Daniel Adni (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1866; Norway 
10.
Lyric Pieces (8), Book 1, Op. 12: no 2, Waltz by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Daniel Adni (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1866; Norway 
11.
Lyric Pieces (8), Book 1, Op. 12: no 4, Elves dance by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Daniel Adni (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867; Norway 
12.
Lyric Pieces (8), Book 1, Op. 12: no 6, Norwegian Dance by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Daniel Adni (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867; Norway 
13.
Lyric Pieces (8), Book 2, Op. 38: no 2, Folksong by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Daniel Adni (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; Norway 
14.
Lyric Pieces (8), Book 2, Op. 38: no 4, Norwegian Dance by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Daniel Adni (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; Norway 
15.
Lyric Pieces (8), Book 2, Op. 38: no 5, Spring Dance by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Daniel Adni (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; Norway 
16.
Lyric Pieces (8), Book 2, Op. 38: no 7, Waltz by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Daniel Adni (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; Norway 
17.
Lyric Pieces (8), Book 2, Op. 38: no 8, Canon by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Daniel Adni (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; Norway 

Sound Samples

Sigurd Jorsalfar, Op.22 (2005 Digital Remaster): Homage March
Norwegian Dances, Op.35 (2005 Digital Remaster): No.1: Allegro marcato
Norwegian Dances, Op.35 (2005 Digital Remaster): No.2: Allegretto tranquillo e grazioso
Norwegian Dances, Op.35 (2005 Digital Remaster): No.3: Allegro moderato alla Marcia
Norwegian Dances, Op.35 (2005 Digital Remaster): No.4: Allegro molto
Lyric Suite Op. 54 (2005 Digital Remaster): No.1: Shepherd Boy
Lyric Suite Op. 54 (2005 Digital Remaster): No.2: Norwegian Rustic March
Lyric Suite Op. 54 (2005 Digital Remaster): No.3: Nocturne
Lyric Suite Op. 54 (2005 Digital Remaster): No.4: March of the Dwarfs
Symphonic Dances Op. 64: Allegro moderato e marcato
Symphonic Dances Op. 64: Allegretto grazioso
Symphonic Dances Op. 64: Allegro giocoso
Symphonic Dances Op. 64: Andante_Allegro molto e risolto
In Autumn - Concert Overture, Op. 11 (1998 Digital Remaster)
Two Elegiac Melodies, Op. 34 (2005 Digital Remaster): No.1: The Wounded Heart: Allegretto espressivo
Two Elegiac Melodies, Op. 34 (2005 Digital Remaster): No.2: Last spring
Suite: From Holberg's Time, Op. 40 (2005 Digital Remaster): 1: Preludium: Allegro vivace
Suite: From Holberg's Time, Op. 40 (2005 Digital Remaster): 2: Sarabande: Andante
Suite: From Holberg's Time, Op. 40 (2005 Digital Remaster): 3: Gavotte: Allegretto - Musette: Un poco mosso - Gavotte
Suite: From Holberg's Time, Op. 40 (2005 Digital Remaster): 4: Air: Andante religioso
Suite: From Holberg's Time, Op. 40 (2005 Digital Remaster): 5: Rigaudon: Allegro con brio
Old Norwegian Romance with Variations, Op.51: Poco tranquillo
Old Norwegian Romance with Variations, Op.51: Tema. Andantino espressivo
Old Norwegian Romance with Variations, Op.51: Poco Allegro, ma tranquillo
Old Norwegian Romance with Variations, Op.51: Allegro leggiero
Old Norwegian Romance with Variations, Op.51: Poco Andante
Old Norwegian Romance with Variations, Op.51: Maestoso
Old Norwegian Romance with Variations, Op.51: Allegro scherzando e leggiero
Old Norwegian Romance with Variations, Op.51: Andante
Old Norwegian Romance with Variations, Op.51: Andante molto tranquillo
Old Norwegian Romance with Variations, Op.51: Presto
Old Norwegian Romance with Variations, Op.51: Tempo di Menuetto
Old Norwegian Romance with Variations, Op.51: Allegro marcato
Old Norwegian Romance with Variations, Op.51: Tempo di Valse
Old Norwegian Romance with Variations, Op.51: Adagio molto espressivo. Finale.
Old Norwegian Romance with Variations, Op.51: Allegro molto marcato
Old Norwegian Romance with Variations, Op.51: Pomposo
Old Norwegian Romance with Variations, Op.51: Prestissimo
Old Norwegian Romance with Variations, Op.51: Andante molto tranquillo
Lyric Pieces, Op.12 (2005 Digital Remaster): 1. Arietta
Lyric Pieces, Op.12 (2005 Digital Remaster): 2. Waltz
Lyric Pieces, Op.12 (2005 Digital Remaster): 4. Fairy Dance
Lyric Pieces, Op.12 (2005 Digital Remaster): 6. Norwegian Melody
Lyric Pieces Op.38 (2005 Digital Remaster): 2. Popular Melody
Lyric Pieces Op.38 (2005 Digital Remaster): 4. Norwegian Dance (Halling)
Lyric Pieces Op.38 (2005 Digital Remaster): 5. Spring Dance
Lyric Pieces Op.38 (2005 Digital Remaster): 7. Waltz
Lyric Pieces, Op.38 (2005 Digital Remaster): 8. Canon

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