Edvard Grieg as a synonym of Norway and Norwegian folk music, and Richard Strauss as the ambassador for the Bavarian Alps: the two composers had not only their musical talent in common, but also an enormous love for their homeland. That passion is almost pal ...[read more]
Edvard Grieg as a synonym of Norway and Norwegian folk music, and Richard Strauss as the ambassador for the Bavarian Alps: the two composers had not only their musical talent in common, but also an enormous love for their homeland.
That passion is almost palpable in the two works on this concert’s programme. The audience first experiences the wild Norwegian nature, and thereafter is plunged into a full day in the natural beauty of the Alps.
In the fall of 1868, Edvard Grieg put the finishing touches of what would turn out to be his first masterpiece: the Piano Concerto in A Minor, which is now a standard part of the piano repertoire. Although the concerto follows the classical model up to a certain point, Grieg had the structure blend seamlessly with the typical influences of Norwegian folk music. He also wove his own conceptions of Norwegian nature and the Norwegian character into the work. How successful he was in doing so is evident in every performance, which immediately summons up the image of Norway in its audience.
In 1900, Richard Strauss wrote to his parents that he had found new inspiration for a symphonic poem “that would begin with a sunrise in Switzerland.” In 1915, the Alpine Symphony (Alpensinfonie) was finished at last.
The score of this masterpiece consists of 23 section headings and requires 123 instruments: “Now at last I have learned to orchestrate”, Strauss apparently remarked during the rehearsals for the first performance. Rich sound combinations evoke filmic impressions of a walk on a mountain slope: a full day of natural beauty, from the glistening dew at dawn through a powerful storm to nightfall, bundled into 45 minutes of fascinating music.