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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Musical Interlude

[For politics, please scroll down]

Enjoy Edvard Grieg's "Morning" from Peer Gynt Suite:

Peer Gynt Suite in its entirety — and one of my personal favorites, which was introduced to me in Music Appreciation 101 back when I was in college (1968-1972) and the best of any college courses that I took:

From the YouTube blurb, which offers much important information about this Peer Gynt Suite:
The orchestral and choral music of the Ibsen's five act play ''Peer Gynt''. Composed by Edvard Grieg (op.23). The London Symphony Orchestra and the Olso Philharmonic Chorus conducted by Per Dreier.

Act I - Prelude: At the wedding garden. Allegro con brio - Poco Andante - Un poco Allegro - Poco andante - Vivace - Poco andante - Allegro con brio: 0:00
II - The Bridal Procession passes. Alla marcia: 5:19
III - Two folk dances. (I) Halling dance. Allegretto: 8:44 (II) Springar dance. Allegro moderato: 10:08

Act II
IV - Prelude: The Abduction of the Bride and Ingrid's Lament. Allegro furioso - Andante - Andante doloroso - Allegro furioso - Andante: 12:16
V - Peer Gynt and the Herd-Girls. Allegro marcato - Molto meno allegro - Poco più allegro - A tempo vivo - Tempo I - Quasi presto: 17:03
VI - Peer Gynt and the Woman in Green. Andante: 20:50
VII - Peer Gynt: ''You can tell great men by the style of their mounts!''. Presto: 22:49
VIII - In the Hall of the Mountain King. Alla marcia e molto marcato - Più vivo - Stringendo al fine: 23:15
IX - Three norwegian dances. Allegro marcato (25:44) - Allegretto tranquillo e grazioso (32:35) - Allegro moderato alla marcia (35:02)
X - Dance of the Mountain King's Daughter. Allegretto alla burla - Presto: 38:38
XI - Peer Gynt hunted by the trolls. Presto: 40:35
XII - Peer Gynt and the Bøyg. Andante - Allegro - Stretto sempre - Andante: 42:37

XIII - Prelude: Deep inside the pine forest. Largo: 46:31
XIV - Solveig's song. Andante - Allegretto tranquillamente - Tempo I - Allegretto tranquillamente - Tempo I: 48:37
XV - The death of Åse. Andante doloroso: 53:51

Act IV
XVI - Prelude: Morning Mood. Allegretto pastorale - Più tranquillo: 58:23
XVII - The Thief and the Receiver. Presto: 1:02:22
XVIII - Arabian Dance. Allegretto vivace: 1:03:51
XIX - Anitra's Dance. Tempo di Mazurka: 1:08:52
XX - Peer Gynt's Serenade. Poco Andante - Allegretto - Allegro - Tempo I - Tranquillo e dolce - Allegro molto: 1:12:31
XXI - Peer Gynt and Anitra. Allegro vivace - Poco meno allegro - Prestissimo - Molto più lento, quasi moderato: 1:15:32
XXII - Solveig's Song. Un poco Andante - Allegretto tranquillamente - Tempo I - Con moto - Allegretto tranquillamente - Tempo I: 1:17:03
XXIII - Peer Gynt at the Statue of Memnon (Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra conducted by Neeme Järvi). Largo: 1:22:16

Act V
XXIV - Prelude: Peer Gynt's homecoming, stormy evening on the sea. Allegro agitato: 1:24:26
XXV - Shipwreck. Allegro moderato - Allegro marcato e sempre stretto - Presto - Andante: 1:28:11
XXVI - Day scene: 1:29:09
XXVII - Solveig sings in the hut. Andante: 1:30:36
XXVIII - Night scene. Adagio - Un poco Allegro - Andante - Poco più animato - Allegro agitato e stretto - Andante - Adagio - Allegro: 1:31:54
XXIX - Whitsun Hymn: ''Oh Blessed morning''. Langsam: 1:39:08
XXX - Solveig's Cradle Song. Lento - Tranquillo: 1:40:10

When Ibsen asked Grieg to write music for the play in 1874, he enthusiastically agreed. However, it was much more difficult for Grieg than he imagined. "Peer Gynt progresses slowly," he wrote to a friend in August 1874, ''and there is no possibility of having it finished by autumn. It is a terribly unmanageable subject.''

Grieg originally composed 90 minutes of orchestral music for the play, he later extracted certain sections for the two suites, wich are among his most well-known works, however they initially began as incidental compositions.

"The more he saturated his mind with the powerful poem, the more clearly he saw that he was the right man for a work of such witchery and so permeated with the Norwegian spirit," his wife wrote of him and his music. Even though the premiere was a "triumphant success", it prompted Grieg to complain bitterly that the Swedish management of the theater had given him specifications as to the duration of each number and its order: "I was thus compelled to do patchwork ... In no case had I opportunity to write as I wanted ... Hence the brevity of the pieces," he said.

For many years, the suites were the only parts of the music that were available, as the original score was not published until 1908, one year after Grieg's death, by Johan Halvorsen.

The complete score of the incidental music includes several songs and choral pieces. The complete score was believed to be lost until the 1980s and has been performed in its entirety only since then.
[about Henrik Ibsen's 1867 play Peer Gynt, for which Grieg composed the above incidental music]


  1. Wonderful selection. Video put together by my favorite video editor who does super work. A reminder of all that is beautiful.

    1. Bunkerville,
      Thank you.

      Spring 2018 has finally arrived here to Northern Virginia. Glorious! As usual.

  2. Grieg's music is so close to my heart, I can hardly talk about it without having tears come to my eyes. My father was especially fond of the music from Peer Gynt as he'd been acquainted it in his own chidhood, which began in 1908 when they were still practically new.

    We had two volumes of Lyric Pieces by Grieg in our piano library at home. I learnt and played most of them before graduating from high school.

    For some reason Grieg's music resonated partlculrly well with Americans –– more than it did on the European Continent.

    When my father died in August of 1976 after a long illness, I could think of nothing better to do to honor his memory than to transcribe several of Grieg's best known orchestral pieces for organ, which I played at Daddy's funeral.

    Not all the pieces were from Peer Gynt. As a family we had loved the television show called Mama adapated from Kathryn Forbe's book, Mama’s Bank Account, later made into a movie called I Remember Mama. The theme music for that beloved television series was The Last Spring (Varnum) and the Sarabande from the Holberg Suite, so naturally I played those two first, then followed with Solveig’s Song, Anitra’s Dance and Ase’s Death ending with Morning –– all from Peer Gynt.

    Father died forty-two years ago, and to this day I’ve never played any of those piece again. I just can’t. Please don't ask me why.

  3. Oddly enough I'd never heard the COMPLETE Incidental Music to Peer Gynt before now, and I still have not seen the play.

    Go figger!

  4. I am fascinated by your comment that the music appreciation course was the best you had in college. I get the impression these are part of our cultural heritage that is being swept into institutional dustbins. But I had a similar experience. A high school music theory course prompted me spending my last summer in the library checking out all kinds of types of classic music I had little exposure to, and it continued into a college course. Some found this in art, literature, specialized sciences, and a myriad of clubs which have become part of today's culture wars. It's become all about 'struggle' (a la Madame Mao who used to call and harangue her 'friends' for hours to 'struggle') instead of nurturing and blossoming.

    1. Baysider,
      I get the impression these are part of our cultural heritage that is being swept into institutional dustbins.

      Schools from K through graduate level have moved so far Left that they are, in effect, erasing Western Civilization.

      I wonder if Western Civ courses are still offered?

  5. I immediately recognized the melody of Morning but did not realize it was from Peer Gynt which I had simply associated with the Mountain King .

    Thanks for posting.

    1. I'm surprised you never heard of Anitra's Dance Solveig's Song, and Ase's Death at least. All were great Parlor Piano favorites when I was a child.

      Grieg tends to be overooked in highbrow musical cricles, because his folksy lyricism appeals easily to middle class people of average means. Most self-sthyled highbrows are inveterate snobs who want to believe that a work of art can't be any good if average people feel instnctively drawn to it. It must puzzle, shock, repel, or dismay in order to qualify as "art," by pretentious dilettantes many of whom have earned advanced degrees in the subject.

      Like Chopin Grieg excelled in shorter forms, though his too-famous piano concerto is one of the great masterieces in the literature.

      Gireg was a great songwriter in the tradition of Mendelssohn, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms and Hugo Wolf to which Grieg added a UNIQUE voice all his own.


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