Edvard Hagerup Grieg (15 June 1843 – 4 September 1907) was a Norwegian composer and pianist who composed in the romantic period. He is best known for his Piano Concerto in A minor, for his incidental music to Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt (which includes Morning Mood (contrary to popular belief, it was not meant to depict a sunrise over the Norwegian fjords. It was actually meant to depict a sunrise over the Sahara Desert) and In the Hall of the Mountain King), and for his collection of piano miniatures Lyric Pieces. Grieg is renowned as a nationalist composer, drawing inspiration from Norwegian folk music.
Peer Gynt (IPA: [per g?nt]) is a play by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. It was written in 1867, and first performed in Christiania (now Oslo) on February 24, 1876. Ibsen wrote Peer Gynt while traveling in Rome, on Ischia and in Sorrento. It was first published on November 14, 1867, in Copenhagen. The first edition comprised 1,250 copies. It was followed by a re-print of 2,000 copies after 14 days. The large sales were mostly due to the success of Ibsen's previous play, Brand. Unlike Ibsen's other later plays, Peer Gynt is written in verse. This is because it was originally intended to be a written drama, not for stage performance. Difficulties due to rapid and frequent change of scene (including an entire act in pitch darkness) render the play troublesome to perform. It is also unlike Ibsen's later plays in that it is a fantasy rather than a realistic tragedy.
Ibsen asked Edvard Grieg to compose incidental music for the play. Grieg composed a score that plays approximately ninety minutes. As Ibsen's long play is quite an undertaking to put on stage, and since Grieg's incidental music had an ineffable quality that destined it to become an all-time classic, this music started to lead a life of its own: Grieg extracted two suites of four pieces each from the incidental music (Opus 46 and Opus 55), which became very popular as concert music. Only one of the sung parts of the incidental music ended up in these suites (the last part of 2nd suite, Solveig's Song, the solo part now played by violin rather than sung, though the vocal version is sometimes substituted). (Originally, the second suite had a fifth number, The Dance of the Mountain King's Daughter, but Grieg withdrew it.) Grieg himself declared that it was easier to make music "out of his own head" than strictly following suggestions made by Ibsen. For instance, Ibsen wanted music that would characterize the "international" friends in the fourth act, by melding the said national anthems (Norwegian, Swedish, German, French and English). Reportedly, Grieg did not have the right temperament for this task.
Later the music of these suites, especially the Morgenstemning ("Morning Mood") starting the first suite, In the Hall of the Mountain King, and the string lament Aase's Death reappeared in numerous arrangements, soundtracks, etc.
Peer Gynt Suites
Peer Gynt, Suite No. 1, Op. 46 and Peer Gynt, Suite No. 2, Op. 55 are two orchestral suites of extracted incidental music for Peer Gynt. Written in 1875, the score to the play had a total of twenty-three movements, and later, in 1888 and 1891, Grieg extracted eight movements to make two four-movement suites.
Suite No. 1, Op. 46
1. Morgenstemning (Morning Mood)
2. Åses død (Aase's Death)
3. Anitras Dans (Anitra's Dance)
4. I Dovregubbens hall (In the Hall of the Mountain King)
Suite No. 2, Op. 55
1. Bruderovet. Ingrids klage. (The Abduction of the Bride. Ingrid's Lament)
2. Arabisk Dans (Arabian Dance)
3. Peer Gynts hjemfart (Stormful aften pa havet) (Peer Gynt's Homecoming (Stormy Evening on the Sea))
4. Solveigs Sang (Solveig's, or Solvejg's Song)
Track list :
1. Prelude to Act I
2. Prelude to Act II (Ingrid’s Abduction and Lament) – 1st movement from Suite no.2
3. In the Hall of the Mountain King – 4th movement from Suite No.1
4. Dance of the Mountain King’s Daughter – removed from Suite No.2 as 5th movement
5. Aase’s Death – 2nd movement from Suite No.1
6. Prelude to Act IV (Morning Mood) – 1st movement from Suite No.1
7. Arabian Dance – 2nd movement from Suite No.2
8. Anitra’s Dance – 3rd movement from Suite No.1
9. Solveig’s Song – 4th movement from Suite No.2
10. Prelude to Act V (Peer Gynt’s Homecoming) – 3rd movement from Suite No.2
11. Song of the Church-goers
12. Solveig’s Lullaby
*Elly Ameling, soprano
*Geraldine Walther, viola
*Edo de Waart, conductor
*San Francisco Symphony & Chorus