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Edvard Grieg - Complete Music with Orchestra (2001) CD2

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Edvard Grieg - Complete Music with Orchestra (2001) CD2

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From Holberg's Time Op. 40 Suite In The Olden Style For String Orchestra 	19:16
2-1 	1. Praeludium: Allegro Vivace 	3:00
2-2 	2. Sarabande: Andante 	3:15
2-3 	3. Gavotte: Allegretto - Musette: Un Poco Mosso - Gavotte 	3:31
2-4 	4. Air: Andante Religioso 	5:21
2-5 	5. Rigaudon: Allegro Con Brio 	4:09
Two Elegiac Melodies Op. 34 	8:11
2-6 	1. The Wounded Heart: Allegretto Espressivo 	3:23
2-7 	2. Last Spring: Andante 	4:48
Two Melodies Op. 53 	9:22
2-8 	1. Norwegian: Allegro Risoluto - Poco Tranquillo 	4:47
2-9 	2. The First Meeting: Lento 	4:35
Two Nordic Melodies Op. 63 	13:09
2-10 	1. In Folk Style: Andante 	7:50
2-11 	2. Cow-Call: Andantino 	5:19
Two Lyric Pieces Op. 68 	8:20
2-12 	1. Evening In The Mountains: Andantino  (Oboe – Mårten Larsson)	4:37
2-13 	2. At The Cradle: Allegretto Con Moto 	3:43
Lyric Suite Op. 54 	19:02
2-14 	1. Shepherd Boy: Andantino Espressivo 	4:14
2-15 	2. Bell-Ringing: Andante 	4:54
2-16 	3. Norwegian March: Allegretto Marcato 	2:15
2-17 	4. Notturno: Andante 	4:17
2-18 	5. March Of The Trolls: Allegro Marcato 	3:22

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Neeme Järvi – conductor

 

A flowing, gracious, and also deeply felt, performance of the "Holberg" Suite confirms this as one of the most perfect of romantic suites inspired by the baroque. The following two pairs of melodies are all arrangements Grieg made from his songs and show him at his most romantically melodious. Järvi plays them passionately but without indulging them; he has the gift of letting them unfold naturally. Hear him caress "The First Meeting" without ever lapsing into sentimentality – this is a highly attractive piece in his hands.

The most remarkable music on this disc is the Two Nordic Melodies, and, having been sniffy about Grieg’s use of actual folk melodies in the Symphonic Dances I can only say I am astounded at what he does here (the more so when the two works have consecutive opus numbers!). The first is profoundly inventive in its textures and builds up with great breadth to an epic statement that looks forward to Sibelius. The second is delightfully fresh and again uses the string orchestra most imaginatively.

After so much string music, the entry of the oboe in "Evening in the Mountains", the first of the Two Lyric Pieces, is unforgettable. This is an example of how imaginative programming can add to the impact of an already beautiful piece. Järvi draws the maximum atmosphere from this desolate Tristan-inspired poem, and then keeps the following "Cradle Song" very much on the move, always gently rocking.

Of the Lyric Suite, only the first, "The Shepherd Boy", was orchestrated by Grieg, for strings only. He adds a striking dimension to a piece whose piano original has never fired me with much enthusiasm. The remainder were orchestrated (for full orchestra) by Anton Seidl and shown to Grieg, who protested that they were too heavily Wagnerian. He rejected one, "Bell-Ringing" (though it is played here) and pruned the orchestration of the others before permitting publication. I can only say he didn’t prune it anything like enough. "Norwegian March" and "March of the Trolls" are reasonable enough in a riotous sort of way but it is a pity to hear the "Nocturne" hammed up in this pre-Hollywood style. Järvi adopts a tempo that would certainly be too slow for the piano original but which is fair enough for this version given the premise that the thing had to be played at all. In any case, if you hanker after the gentle purity of Grieg’s original conception you will want to hear it played on the piano. ---Christopher Howell, musicweb-international.com

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