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Grieg: Songs & Orchestral Music
01 Jan 2005
Originally recorded in 2004
Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
Stockholm Concert Hall
Vocal & Song
Orchestral & Concertos
Total Time - 71:30
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Symphonic Dances Op. 64
Allegro moderato e marcato -
in G major - in G-Dur - en sol majeur
Allegretto grazioso -
in A major - in A-Dur - en la majeur
in D major - in D-Dur - en ré majeur
in A minor - in a-Moll - en la mineur
Six Songs for voice and orchestra
Un poco andante
Solveigs Cradle Song
From Monte Pincio
Andante ben tenuto
Three Orchestral Pieces from 'Sigurd Jorsalfar', Op.56
Prelude (In the King's Hall)
Intermezzo (Borghild's Dream)
Poco andante - Allegro agitato - Andante espressivo
Allegro molto - Allegretto marziale
Today Grieg’s reputation rests on relatively few pieces, such as the Piano Concerto, the Peer Gynt or Holberg Suite. However, this is no indication of the quality of those works which are seldom played in concert. The delicacy, colour and vigour of the Symphonic Dances, the sheer beauty and simplicity of the orchestral songs, and the mood-setting encountered in the Sigurd Jorsalfar pieces show a supreme craftsman at work. This recording with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic under Gennady Rozhdestvensky, was very highly regarded when first released and remains one of the critics’ top recommendations for this repertoire.
Norwegian soprano Solveig Kringelborn is one of the leading Scandinavian singers with a speciality for Norwegian song. She also possesses a wide operatic repertoire, appearing at many of the world’s leading opera houses and has performed in concert under some of the world’s most eminent conductors.
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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.
…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.
Rozdestvenskys direction is adroit, affectionate and imaginative, and the extraordinary beauty and poignancy of Griegs inspiration is revealed very clearly.
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