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Grieg: Peer Gynt Suites, etc / Ruud, Bergen PO


Release Date: 10/31/2006 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 1591   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Edvard Grieg
Conductor:  Ole Kristian Ruud
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.

There have been many, many excellent recordings of Grieg's Peer Gynt Suites, and I personally prefer collections that offer a somewhat larger selection of incidental music, minus the voices (save perhaps for Solveig's two numbers). Still, if you want just the two canonical suites, you can't go wrong with this excellent release. Ole Kristian Ruud knows the music about as well as anyone alive, and it goes without saying that the orchestra does too. There are some wonderful things here, including an effortless, surging "Morning Mood" and one of the best accelerandos on disc during "In the Hall of the Mountain King". Are there
Read more any debits? Well, maybe "Ase's Death" could have a richer string sound at its central climax, but these and any other minor issues really are vanishingly small.


The couplings add a good bit of interest to this release. Bell Ringing, a wonderfully impressionistic item that forms a sort of appendix to the Lyric Suite, is very nice to have, while the Old Norwegian Melody with Variations never has really caught on as a repertory item. I suppose it's a bit episodic, and it lacks the consistent level of melodic distinction characteristic of Grieg's best work; but it's certainly pleasing and this performance demonstrates that its neglect must be counted a mystery. The Funeral March is unusually powerful for a composer of Grieg's generally gentle mien, particularly here in its original wind band scoring.


As in all of the most recent SACDs from this source, BIS's engineering produces eminently natural, sumptuous results in all formats. Is this "the best"? Given the volume of available competition it's impossible to say, but in most respects you'll find these interpretations to be as fine as anything out there, and if you've been collecting this series there's no conceivable reason to hesitate. [11/27/2006]
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Peer Gynt Suite no 1, Op. 46 by Edvard Grieg
Conductor:  Ole Kristian Ruud
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875/1888; Norway 
2. Peer Gynt Suite no 2, Op. 55 by Edvard Grieg
Conductor:  Ole Kristian Ruud
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875/1892; Norway 
3. Funeral March in Memory of Richard Nordraak, EG 107 by Edvard Grieg
Conductor:  Ole Kristian Ruud
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Norway 
Notes: Version: 1892
Composition written: Norway (1866).
Composition revised: Norway (1878). 
4. Old Norwegian Romance with Variations for 2 Pianos, Op. 51 by Edvard Grieg
Conductor:  Ole Kristian Ruud
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Norway 
Notes: Version: 1900-05
Composition written: Norway (1890).
Composition revised: Norway (1900 - 1905). 
5. Lyric Pieces (6), Book 5, Op. 54: no 6, Bellringing by Edvard Grieg
Conductor:  Ole Kristian Ruud
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891; Norway 
Notes: Version: 1904 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Disappointed July 7, 2012 By R. FORNES (BERKELEY, CA) See All My Reviews "BIS is at the top of my list for production quality and engineering skills, but I feel they let me down a little on this one. The music on this disk is just a little too heavy and bombastic for my taste.

The bass is so overemphasized that I had to turn down the bass and turn up the treble on my system just to make it listenable, and it still sounds a little muddy. I hardly ever touch the frequency adjustment knobs. I also have an issue with the dynamic range of the recording. While I recognize that the extra bits provided by the SACD format allow for a greater dynamic range, and that a wide dynamic range is generally considered a good thing for orchestral recordings, I don’t think it is necessary to use every available dB of headroom. I even tried patching a Drawmer DL 241 compressor into the signal path, with a ratio of 2:1, because I could not really enjoy long periods of silence punctuated with startling thunderous passages. Even with the compression, the quiet passages are barely audible with the volume level set so that the louder passages are as loud as I can tolerate. I also found Ruud’s interpretation a little more heavy-handed than I prefer.

I am not saying that this recording is terrible, but for a version of this music in the SACD format, I personally find the Elvind Aadland version with the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln on Audite to be a more enjoyable and entertaining listening experience.
"
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