Edvard Grieg

(Bergen, 1843 – 1907)

Very talented, Grieg displayed his impatience for the arid study of technique and traditional forms, right from the first years of his musical apprenticeship. As a result, his experience at the Leipzig Conservatory was a delusion, if not an annoyance. On the other hand, the liveliness of the Saxon city offered him precious moments to take in a lot of music and to connect the periphery of Norway to the cultural heart of Europe. The inevitable influence the grand German musical style had on him is softened by his closeness to Norwegian folk music, which his mentor, the young composer Rikard Nordraak, who died prematurely, was passionate about. Thus in the development of his personal style, Nordic folklore became a precious element.

His style pursued an intimate vein, one that shunned grand constructions, and was more similar to a sketch or lyrical impression, to a Lied or album-leaf. This is the main characteristic of his best compositions (it is not by chance that he renounced to composing a second Concerto for piano and orchestra, after the first, famous, Piano Concerto in A minor, op. 16 in 1868), such as the Lyric Pieces, op. 12 for piano, the incidental music for Peer Gynt by Ibsen, whom he met in Italy (the pieces Morning Mood and Solveig’s Song are very well known) or the equally famous Holberg Suite.

A contract with the renown editor Peters of Leipzig freed him from economic worries and allowed him to concentrate on composing in his country home become famous Troldhaugen: almost symbolic of his artistic signature: remote, nationalistic and peripheral.

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