Personalities | Edvard Grieg | Late Romantic | Classical

(Ed’-värd Greg) 1843–1907
Norwegian composer

Of Scottish ancestry, Grieg first studied music with his mother, and later went to Leipzig (1858–62) to study with Ignaz Moscheles and Carl Reinecke, and with Gade in Copenhagen. There he became organizer of the Euterpe Society for Scandinavian Music and subsequently, in Norway, founded the Norwegian Academy of Music (1867). The same year he married his cousin Nina Hagerup, a soprano who gave the premieres of many of his songs. Grieg’s style combines the early German Romanticism of Schumann and Mendelssohn with nationalistic Norwegian elements, but these are filtered through his distinctive lyrical imagination. His best-known works are his Piano Concerto (1868), still a concert favourite (which Liszt sight-read perfectly when they met in Weimar), and the incidental music for Peer Gynt, from which he made two suites that won him international fame. Grieg was above all a master of the miniature, exemplified in the 10 sets of Lyric Pieces for piano (1867–1901) based on Norwegian folk themes, the neo-classical Holberg Suite (1884) and much beautiful chamber music. Honoured all over Europe in his final years, Grieg retired to a house near Bergen, yet continued to be an influential mentor to younger colleagues including Frederick Delius (1862–1934) and Percy Grainger (1882–1961). Grieg’s music, some of which is still unfamiliar, continues to exert its popular melodic appeal, as for instance in the film The Song of Norway.

Recommended Recording:
Piano Concerto, Sonata, Lyric Pieces, Leif Ove Andsnes, Bergen PO (cond) Dmitri Kitayenko (Virgin/Erato)

Sounds Familiar

‘Morning’ from Peer Gynt
‘Morning’ from the Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 is one of the warmly lyrical movements that highlights Grieg’s melodic and colouristic gift. The piece surpasses the original play in popularity, its appealing melody and atmospheric effects familiar from concert, ballet and film.

Introduction | Late Romantic | Classical
Personalities | Engelbert Humperdinck | Late Romantic | Classical


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