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Cat. No. CHAN 10287 X Price: £7 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10287 - Grieg: Songs & Orchestral Music
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Available From: 10 January 2005
For his Symphonic Dances (1898), as with many of his works, Grieg draws, on the large collection of folk music collated by his fellow Norwegian composer Ludvig Mathias Lindeman. Not only did contact with this source provide Grieg with a wealth of material, but it resulted in his music becoming more nationalistic in flavour, with less adherence to classical forms. Indeed, despite the use of the word ‘symphonic’, Grieg’s Op. 64 relies more on dance and folk-like material.

The Six Songs were orchestrated during 1894 and 1895 and published shortly afterwards. ‘Solveig’s Song’ hardly needs any introduction. Originally part of Grieg’s well-known incidental music for Ibsen’s ‘Peer Gynt’, it remains one of the composer’s most moving, yet simple, pieces. Also from Peer Gynt is ‘Solveig’s Cradle Song’. The musical content of ‘From Monte Pincio’ is more diverse – the still opening contrasts sharply with the colourful, dance-like middle section. The beautiful ‘A Swan’, originally part of the Op. 25 set is a setting of words by Ibsen. ‘Springtime’ is the second of a set of songs which Grieg wrote to poems by A. O. Vinje. It is one of Grieg’s best known songs, eloquently scored for strings. The dramatic ‘Henrik Wergeland’ (1894) is a setting of John Paulsen’s elegy on the famous Norwegian playwright and poet (1808-1845).

Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, a close friend of Grieg’s, was one of the most influential figures in nineteenth-century Norwegian literature. It was in 1872 that Grieg began writing the incidental music for Bjørnson’s new play Sigurd Jorsalfar (Sigurd the Crusader). The music consists of eight numbers, two of which are vocal. In 1892 three of the numbers were revised and published separately. They form the suite Op. 56 on this disc.
Reviews

…excellently done, and Chandos provide recording quality of the utmost naturalness and presence.
The Penguin Complete Guide

The Grieg Symphonic Dances can seldom have received such an affectionate, winningly phrased performance as this one…. and the Chandos recording is simply wonderful.
CD Review

Rozdestvenskys direction is adroit, affectionate and imaginative, and the extraordinary beauty and poignancy of Griegs inspiration is revealed very clearly.
Gramophone

 

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