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Grieg: Symphonic Dances, Piano Concerto, Etc / Marriner


Release Date: 10/07/1997 
Label:  Hänssler Classic   Catalog #: 98128   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Garrick Ohlsson
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Good performances of the Grieg Piano Concerto are two-a-penny, and many are almost inevitably coupled with the Schumann Concerto. It is refreshing, then, to hear an all-Grieg disc with the concerto as its centrepiece, particularly when the sound is as warmly sumptuous as this.

Garrick Ohlsson is a sensitive and poetic pianist, and he emphasizes the concerto’s lyrical qualities, quite naturally communicating its youthful innocence. Tempos are relaxed and phrases are allowed to speak with an expressive beauty, but sometimes Ohlsson dwells too much on fine detail at the expense of momentum and a sense of spontaneity. The ebb and flow so important to this overfamiliar work at times sounds a little forced. However, if one needs to
Read more go elsewhere for virtuoso glory (Zimerman certainly gives us that, although in this work Kovacevich and Perahia are more convincingly poetic), this is a subtle and understated reading, completely unhackneyed, with a poetic integrity and warmth. Nevertheless, there are passages (notably the cadenza) that really need more fire and passion, more charisma. The orchestral accompaniment has a rich solidity, but it isn’t as incisive as the rest of the disc, and there are some untidy hand-overs from piano to orchestra.

The orchestral playing is much tighter in the other works. The Symphonic Dances are very impressive, played with energetic spirit and character. The solo oboe in the second and best-known dance has a slightly raw and fruity quality, not wholly inappropriate for this strong and direct reading. The festive spirit of the “Wedding day at Troldhaugen” is infectiously portrayed, and this enjoyable disc is recorded with full-bodied sound throughout, giving a striking impact.

In summary, if it is the concerto you want then Ohlsson’s version, while not a first choice, is rewarding; if you want the Symphonic Dances or merely to sample Grieg’s music then this is an appealing disc.'

-- Tim Parry, Gramophone [5/1998]
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Works on This Recording

1. Symphonic Dances (4), Op. 64 by Edvard Grieg
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896-1897; Norway 
2. Concerto for Piano in A minor, Op. 16 by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Garrick Ohlsson (Piano)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868/1907; Norway 
3. Norwegian Melodies (2) for Strings, Op. 63 by Edvard Grieg
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869/1895; Norway 
4. Lyric Pieces (6), Book 8, Op. 65: no 6, Wedding day at Trolhaugen by Edvard Grieg
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; Norway 

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