Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Countdown to Syttende Mai--Edvard Grieg

Most Americans know little to nothing concerning Norway, yet most will readily recognize things that are Norwegian without knowing that they are Norwegian. Case and point: Edvard Grieg. By mere mention of the name Grieg many are still at a loss, yet once the music begins to play seemingly all reply, "I know this song!" Hence, most everyone knows Grieg without knowing Grieg!
Edvard Grieg has many famous compositions. He wrote during Norway's National Romantic Period and employed many elements of the Norwegian folk tradition. I could go on and on about the life and works of Edvard Grieg, but I won't. If you are interested in learning more you may wish to check this out.
You may also wish to listen to a few of the works of Edvard Grieg. Some of the slide shows found on youtube that accompany his work are good, while others. . . well, you know.
This first video has pictures from Norway and is a composition titled, "Våren" (Last Spring):

This second video (which isn't a video at all) is a composition titled, "Morgenstemning" (Morning Mood). It is the one that most American's recognize as it has been used in many commercials and Saturday morning cartoons:

"I Dovregubbens hall" (In the Hall of the Mountain King) is another popular composition by Grieg. It has also been hijacked commercially in the United States:

This next composition is hauntingly beautiful. It is titled, "Aases død" (The death of Aase):

And finally, let's end on a happy note with "Anitras dans" (Anitra's Dance) from an old vinyl record:

Well, I hope that you enjoyed your exposure to Grieg! There is much more to his repertoire and I own a lot of it, so feel free to come on over for a listen or borrow one of the cds!
p.s. All of the above compositions are from Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, which happens to be the first songs of Grieg that I was exposed to, causing me to become an avid fan of Grieg and leading me to a love of classical music.

1 comment:

Jennette said...

Great post! I love Peer Gynt and one of my favorite other pieces is Solveig's Song (orchestral and sung versions). Another piece I like is the Holberg Suite, especially the prelude and Gavotte parts. The Cello Sonata is another great work (I love the cello, so practically any cello work I love). I've played Albumblad and Arietta on the clarinet so those are pretty close to my heart as well.
Grieg was an amazing composer! What I like most about him is not only his ability to transform the emotions of life's ordinary and extraordinary moments into beautiful music, but he also has the ability to embody the inspiration or spiritual nature of life's surroundings. From the melancholy adagios to the joyful allegrettos, I cannot listen to a single piece without imagining a beautiful, panoramic scene of a valley, coast, fjord, or forest. I guess that's just part of the essence of Norway. Yay for Grieg!!