Edvard Grieg: Norway's Enduring Contributor to Classical Music
"I am sure my music has a taste of codfish in it." Edvard Grieg
In the town of Bergen, Norway, where Edvard Grieg was born you can't get away from how much they still celebrate their native son. There are numerous statues, a professional choir a music school and his former home is a museum dedicated to him. He brought the feel and folklore of Norway into the music of the Romantic Era in music, which was something he would both be proud of and laugh at in a self-depreciating manner.
Grieg's mother was his first piano teacher, and began his piano lessons at the age of six. Being raised in a musical family helped shape his passion and pursuit of music as a career, with the important support of his family. Although he was fortunate to be able to attend the famous Leipzig Conservatory, he disliked the disciplined approach of his studies there. After the conservatory, he became a concert pianist, giving his first performance in 1861 in Karlshamm, Sweden.
In the 1860's, Grieg's career began to take off. He wrote piano, violin, and cello sonata's, and got acclaim from other celebrated Romantic Era composers such as Franz Lizt and Tchaikovsky. But it was the incidental music he wrote for a quintessential Norwegian play Peer Gynt, that has been his lasting legacy. Even now, people will recognize "In the Hall of the Mountain King," when they hear it.
Having suffered from bouts of serious illness in his life that left him with a destroyed left lung, on top of having been born with a deformed spine, Grieg died of heart failure at age 64. He left a legacy of beautiful music behind, some of which he got to record himself before he died. Here are some links to his music, for us all to listen to, appreciate and remember this timeless composer.
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