Grieg: Peer Gynt Suite number 1, opus 46

The South Birmingham Sinfonia will perform this symphony in their Winter 2019 concert on 9th February 2019. The notes here are by Sadie Kaye.

Grieg write his incidental music to Ibsen's play Peer Gynt in 1875, and it was first performed with the play in 1876. Grieg later, (1888 and 1891) extracted two suites of four movements each from the music to be performed in their own right. Both are very well-known indeed to this day. SBS will be performing the first of the suites which is almost certainly the best known of Grieg's orchestral music.

It almost seems superfluous to give any notes on these: if the titles are not familiar then the tunes certainly will be. The suite starts with Grieg's optimistic "morning mood" featuring particularly the strings, follows with the slow and stately but lyrical funeral music for Åse, Anitra's delicate dance over pizzicato strings, and finishes with the well-known depiction of the trolls (lead by the bassoons) serving in the Mountain King's Hall.

©RWK for SBS, August/September 2018

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