EDVARD GRIEG
(Bergen, Norway 1843 - 1907)

Lyric Suite, op. 54

(1891) – 15′

Shepherd Boy
Norwegian March
Notturno
March of the Dwarfs

 

Piano Concerto in A minor, op. 16

(1868) – 30′

Allegro molto moderato
Adagio
Allegro moderato molto e marcato

Marie Ange Nguci, piano

 

INTERVAL 20 '

 

Peer Gynt

 
Prelude

(1875) Premiere at L'Auditori 6 ′

 
Suite no. 2, op. 55

16′

The Abduction of the Bride
Arabian Dance
The Return of Peer Gynt
Solveig's Song

Suite no. 1, op. 46

13′

Morning Mood
The Death of Åase
Anitra's Dance
In the Hall of the Mountain King

Barcelona Symphony Orchestra
Tabita Berglund, conductor
Marie-Ange Nguci, piano

 

FIRST VIOLINS  Gergana Gergova *, concertino guest / Jaha Lee, associated concertino / Sarah Bels / Walter Ebenberger / Ana Galán / Natalia Mediavilla / Katia Novell / Pilar Pérez / Anca Ratiu / Jordi Salicrú / Paula Banciu * / Arina Oroño * / Yulia Tsuranova * / Elitsa Yancheva *  SECOND VIOLINS Alexandra Presaizen, soloist / Emil Bolozan, assistant / Maria José Balaguer / Patricia Bronisz / Clàudia Farrés / Mireia Llorens / Melita Murgea / Antoni Peña / Robert Tomàs / Diedrie Mano * / Oleksandr Sora * / Marina Surnacheva *  VIOLAS Benjamin Beck *, guest soloist / Franck Heudiard / Sophie Lasnet / Michel Millet / Jennifer Stahl / Andreas Süssmayr / Irene Argüello * / Javier López * / Johan Rondón *  CELLOS  Anthony Rymer *, guest soloist / Lourdes Duñó / Vincent Ellegiers / Marc Galobardes / Jean Baptiste Texier / Jordi Claret / Jonathan Cottle * / Carmen Enjamio *  DOUBLE BASSES Christoph Rahn, soloist / Jonathan Camps / Apostle Kosev / Matthew Nelson / Josep Mensa / Albert Prat  FLUTES Fransciso López, soloist / Beatriz Cambrils / Ricardo Borrull, flautí  OBOES Dolores Chiralt, assistant / José Juan Pardo  CLARINETS Josep Fuster, assistant / Francesc Navarro  BASSOONS Thomas Greaves, assistant / Slawomir Krysmalski, contrabassoon  HORNS Juan Manuel Gómez, soloist / Joan Aragó / David Bonet / Emilio José Climent * / Juan Conrado García, assistant  TRUMPETS Mireia Farrés, soloist / Adrián Moscardó *  TROMBONES Eusebio Sáez, soloist / Vicent Pérez / Gaspar Montesinos, assistant / Juan Luis Bori *, bass trombone  TUBA Daniel Martínez*  TIMPANI Marc Pino  PERCUSSION Juan Francisco Ruiz / Ignacio Bori * / Joan Lombarte * / Miquel Angel Martínez * / Manuel Roda *  HARP Magdalena Barrera, soloist

ORCHESTRA MANAGER Walter Ebenberger  
MUSICAL DOCUMENTATION MANAGER Begoña Pérez
TECHNICAL MANAGER Ignasi Valero
STAGE CREW Luis Hernández *

* Collaborator

NOTES

by Eva Sandoval

Identity

In 1901, in the last conversation between the prestigious professor of the Leipzig Conservatory, Salomon Jadassohn, and Edvard Grieg (1843-1907), Jadassohn questioned the Norwegian composer's most characteristic feature: the Nordic quality of his language, which has made him enormously popular all over the world: ‘You love your homeland so much that this love overflows into your works [...] Music is too high an art to be confined within the narrow borders of your Norwegian homeland. You are your own prisoner, Edvard’. It was his compatriot, the virtuoso violinist Ole Bull, who awakened the composer’s need to create an authentic Norwegian atmosphere in his scores. In a letter to his biographer Henry Theophilus Finck, Grieg wrote: ‘The essential characteristic of Norwegian folk songs, in comparison to German folk songs, is a deep melancholy that can suddenly turn into an uninhibited and wild mood. Mysterious darkness and unbridled madness: these are the two poles of the Norwegian folk tune’. Thanks to Bull, the composer learned to appreciate the beauty of his country's traditional heritage: ‘I realised that the murmur of nature and the scent of the Norwegian spruce forests should be heard in every concert hall in the world.’ And he succeeded.

Between 1889 and 1891, inspired by this identity, Grieg conceived the six pages that make up the fifth and most successful of his ten books of Lyrical Pieces for piano. In 1894, the conductor Anton Seidl orchestrated four of them. But in 1905, seven years after Seidl's death, Grieg revised the Hungarian's arrangement, he versioned another of the Lyric Pieces from the fifth book, ‘Shepherd Boy’, and removed Seidl's ‘Bell Ringing’. Thus was born the Lyric Suite, Op. 54. The poetic and extremely expressive nature of the ensemble can be acknowledged right from the beginning, in the first piece, ‘Shepherd Boy’, for strings and harp. The melody is wrapped by fanciful and mournful harmonies that lead the discourse towards a dramatic climax. The ‘Norwegian March’ is based on the ‘gangar’, a sort of heavy ‘walking dance’ whose essence is captured in this allegretto marcato in 6/8. In ‘Nocturno’ an atmosphere is established that lies between erotic and mystical, with a lyricism that is enhanced by imitations of birdsong in the woodwind section. The burlesque ‘March of the Dwarfs’ rounds off the suite with a brilliant finale: the aggressive tutti trot gives way to a melancholy central passage that could symbolise the longing of a princess held captive by trolls, a common image in Norwegian folk narrative.

Grieg had the opportunity to hear Clara Schumann perform live her husband Robert's Concerto in A minor, Op. 54 in an evening he would remember as a very moving experience. When he wrote his own Piano Concerto in A minor , Op. 16 in 1868, at the age of 25, Schumann's score left its mark on Grieg's, written in the same key. Both begin with an aggressive attack from the orchestra followed by a cadential and vertiginous gesture from the piano that leads to the exposition of the main theme with the sweetness of the woodwind instruments. In Grieg's case, the dazzling piano opening following the timpani roll is built on what has come to be called the composer's ‘melodic seal’: a sequence of three notes descending from the tonic to the dominant through the sensitive (A - G# - E), a twist that often appears in traditional Norwegian music. At the beginning of the brief ‘Adagio’, Grieg emphasises the melodic quality of the cellos and woodwinds until the piano develops an ornate, dreamy melody in the foreground. The final ‘Allegro moderato e marcato’, which clearly recreates the rhythms and sonorities of a popular dance, bursts with a lively and danceable character.

The protagonist of the piece in verse, Peer Gynt (1867), by Henrik Ibsen, is the paradigmatic example of antihero: an egocentric and insolent teenage peasant who stubbornly pursues his desires. For the premiere of the theatrical adaptation of the play in 1876, Grieg created phenomenal incidental music that illustrated Peer’s adventures and travels. Years later he would publish two suites of this score. The radiant Prelude to Act 1, op. 23, with a clearly folkloric profile, places us in a country bridal scene. The bride, Ingrid, is the daughter of a wealthy farmer with whom Peer flees to the mountains. Suite no. 1, op. 46 (1888) opens with “Al matí”, with an initial dialogue inspired by flute and oboe that portrays the dawn in the desert of North Africa. “I imagine the sun going through the clouds at first strong ”, wrote Grieg. "The Death of Åase" is a bitter and desolate elegy of the ropes dedicated to the protagonist's mother. The daughter of a sheikh who lodges Peer in his retinue, thinking that he is a prophet, dazzles her with "The Dance of the Duck". The delicacy of this section is accentuated with the pinches of the strings and the constant presence of the triangle. "In the Cave of the King of the Mountain" reflects Peer's attempt to escape a king and his trolls. The very famous theme in corxeras that is repeated non-stop serves Grieg to create a compelling pursuit in a sublime exercise in media economics, orchestration, and dynamics. Suite no. 2, op. 55 (1892) opens with a furious and desperate cry from the everyone, followed by a gloomy lament that shapes "The Kidnapping of the Bride", which is none other than Ingrid abandoned by Peer. In the "Arab Dance", vigorous and colorful, percussion and wind instruments shine. "The Return of Peer Gynt" describes the stormy return voyage of the antihero to Norway. Close the second suite “La cançó de Solveig”, a beautiful melody sung by the first violins on a bed of harp and strings.

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