Notes and Editorial Reviews
This release, seeing the light of day for the first time in this mid-priced series (the actual recording date isn't given), contains a selection of music from Grieg's Peer Gynt culled by Temirkanov from the complete score. You get all of the music from the two suites, plus such rarely heard numbers as Peer Gynt and the Woman in Green, Peer Gynt at the Statue of Memnon, the Whitsun Hymn (with chorus), and The Dance of the Mountain King's Daughter. The performances are very persuasive, with Termirkanov adopting some unusually expansive tempos (in Morning Mood) but also not stinting on the excitement (Peer Gynt's Homecoming and In the Hall of the Mountain King). The chorus sings very well and makes some effort to characterize its part, while Inger Dam-Jensen is something of a Solveig specialist. She sounds lovely.
Making this release even more attractive, Temirkanov includes lively and colorful performances of the four Norwegian Dances Op. 35, in the rarely heard contemporary orchestration by Danish composer Robert Henriques (Hans Sitt's are more commonly chosen). Per Dreier also used this edition in his pioneering recording of the complete Peer Gynt, but of course only included the first three, which found their way into subsequent productions. Having the complete set here is entirely apt and welcome. Johan Halvorsen's orchestration of the Bridal Procession from the piano solo Scenes from Country Life Op. 19 (No. 2) also partakes of the same spirit, making this disc an enjoyable and in some ways unique proposition. The sound also is very good, perhaps a touch studio-bound, but easy on the ear and well-suited to the music. No texts or translations are included--a cheap move, but one that does not detract from the disc's purely musical appeal. [6/28/2005]
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com