Edvard Grieg's 180 songs were written throughout his life and almost form a musical autobiography. He also set some of Scandinavia's greatest writers. Beryl Foster, singer and Grieg specialist, discusses these and other reasons for including some of the songs in your repertoire.
Grieg was invited several times to visit America but he never made it primarily due to health reasons, Though he never set foot on American soil, he had many contacts with America during his career. William H. Halverson's article, "Grieg in America," identifies those contacts and summarizes what is known about each of them.
When programming Grieg's piano works, grouping his miniatures into sets instead of by opuses could be more musically convincing and appealing to audiences. Here Gloria Cook and Megan Mascarenhas examine the way in which Grieg selected pieces from different opuses of his piano works and regrouped them into “sets” for his own performances. In doing so, we hope to bring future pianists one step closer to performing sets of Grieg’s piano works that are truly representative of his intentions and artistic values.
Edvard Grieg, The Unexpected Pedagogue
What makes Grieg’s piano compositions so ideal for teaching?
Several outstanding features come to mind. First, as a miniaturist, Grieg’s piano works such as his 10 sets of Lyric Pieces, are made up as a series of short pieces with very attractive titles. The brevity of the pieces, with short dance-like motives most often repeated in sequences, allow us to teach more specific technical and expressive skills without overwhelming our students. His works vary considerably in level of difficulty, making them appropriate for students with different degrees of training.
The topic of enchantment is a common one in critical discourse surrounding Edvard Grieg, whether it be rather general pronouncements of how, for example, the Lyric Pieces “create In this paper Gregory Martin examines the poetics of enchantment through the lens of the masterful song-cycle Haugtussa, and in so doing outlines how Grieg’s artistic choices collude to produce a work that conveys the sense of enchantment not merely as a surface-level poetics, but in its very structure.
Edvard Grieg composed his song cycle Haugtussa, Op. 67 in 1895 in a flurry of creativity. He was so inspired by the "landsmål" dialect of Arne Garborg's verse novel of the same name that he began setting several of the texts from the novel almost immediately. He referred to Garborg's beautiful landsmål poetry as "a world of unborn music." The creativity inspired by the language of Garborg's Haugtussa led to what are, arguably, Grieg's best vocal compositions. Cheryl Christensen discusses here how the language and narrative of Garborg's verse novel influence, and at times, contrast with the narrative of Grieg's song cycle.
Grieg Piano Concerto Connections
The year, 2019, marks the 150th anniversary of the premiere of Grieg's Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16. Within a few years after its premiere in Copenhagen in 1869, the concerto was premiered in America. Homage is
paid to the distingusihed musicians who introduced the concerto to the American public and thus established Grieg's name early in his career among the great composers whose music was performed in America at that time.