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Grieg: Peer Gynt / Blomstedt, San Francisco Symphony

Release Date: 12/28/1989 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 425448   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Wendy HoffmanMerilyn VaughnWendy WhiteRichard Haille,   ... 
Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony OrchestraSan Francisco Symphony Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 13 Mins. 

Special Order:  This CD requires additional production time and ships within 2-3 business days.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Twenty numbers from the original score's total of 26 are played here, and every item of real consequence is included to make this the best single-disc version of Peer Gynt to be had. For the complete incidental music you will have to invest in Jarvi's excellent recording on two CDs, with the complete Sigurd Jorsalfar music as fill-up (DG (CD) 423 079-2GH2, 2/88). There is also a generously filled single disc of excerpts from that complete recording (DG (CD) 427 325-2GH 7/89), but by and large I feel that the new version is a slightly more attractive proposition, and conveys the score's unique flavour a little more effectively.

The one major drawback in Blomstedt's performance lies in the solo singing. Both artists perform with
Read more a good deal of enthusiasm and feeling, and no doubt bring a special insight to the Norwegian language, but technically they are less than top rate, and there are one or two uneasy moments in their contributions. The San Francisco Chorus is, however, first-class, as is the orchestral playing, and in the more dramatic numbers Blomstedt conducts with a great deal of dash and flair. Like Jarvi he is slightly less at home in those items where atmosphere and feeling are to the fore. Compare his conducting of ''The Death of Ase'' or ''Morning Mood'' with that of Beecham in his disc of ten numbers from the score (EMI Studio (CD) CDM7 69039-2, 1/89), and you will hear how much more poetry Beecham finds in the music—in fact his superlative recording is almost a necessary adjunct to any of the newer versions under discussion. But one important component in Blomstedt's recording is the inclusion of dialogue. The recording employs seven speaking roles who use the original language of course (Decca supply a lavish booklet within a cardboard sleeve that also contains the jewel-case). Their participation in ''Peer Gynt and the Boyg'', for instance, gives the episode an extraordinary tension, heightened by Decca's excellent engineering.

As in previous reviews I must point out that readers who are only familiar with the two orchestral suites from Peer Gynt suites can have no idea of the complete score's range and power. I do urge curious collectors to investigate either the new disc, which contains most of the incidental music, or the complete Jarvi recording.

-- Gramophone [3/1990]
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Works on This Recording

Peer Gynt, Op. 23 by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Wendy Hoffman (Mezzo Soprano), Merilyn Vaughn (), Wendy White (Mezzo Soprano),
Richard Haille (), Urban Malmberg (Baritone), Mari Anne Häggander (Soprano)
Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra,  San Francisco Symphony Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875/1892; Norway 
Date of Recording: 06/1988 
Venue:  Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco 
Length: 73 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Language: Norwegian 

Sound Samples

Peer Gynt, Op.23 - Incidental Music: Act 1 - Prelude
Peer Gynt, Op.23 - Incidental Music: No.4. Ingrid's Lament
Peer Gynt, Op.23 - Incidental Music: No.5. Peer Gynt and the herd girls
Peer Gynt, Op.23 - Incidental Music: No.8. In the hall of the Mountain King
Peer Gynt, Op.23 - Incidental Music: No.9. Dance of the Mountain King's daughter
Peer Gynt, Op.23 - Incidental Music: No.10. Peer Gynt hunted by the Trolls. No.11. The Boyg
Peer Gynt, Op.23 - Incidental Music: No.12. The death of Ase
Peer Gynt, Op.23 - Incidental Music: No.13. Morning mood
Peer Gynt, Op.23 - Incidental Music: No.14. The thief and the receiver
Peer Gynt, Op.23 - Incidental Music: No.15. Arabian dance
Peer Gynt, Op.23 - Incidental Music: No.16. Anitra's dance
Peer Gynt, Op.23 - Incidental Music: No.17. Peer Gynt's serenade
Peer Gynt, Op.23 - Incidental Music: No.19. Solveig's song
Peer Gynt, Op.23 - Incidental Music: No.21.Peer Gynt's homecoming. Stormy evening on the sea
Peer Gynt, Op.23 - Incidental Music: No.22. The Shipwreck
Peer Gynt, Op.23 - Incidental Music: No.23. Solveig sings in the hut
Peer Gynt, Op.23 - Incidental Music: No.24. Night scene
Peer Gynt, Op.23 - Incidental Music: No.25. Whitsun hymn: "O blessed morning"
Peer Gynt, Op.23 - Incidental Music: No.26. Solveig's cradle song

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