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A sampler of Grieg's works – his method

This part of the programme for the Grieg anniversary will focus on Grieg’s method. Children and young people, composers, musicians and sound artists are being invited to create sound art inspired by Grieg’s method and spirit.

The theme of the Sampler has been chosen due to Edvard Grieg’s interest in the sounds he heard in nature and folk music. Like many composers of his time, his interest in this area was an expression of a process of national awakening and identity-building. In his work, Grieg made extensive use of Norwegian folk music elements and tone pictures that recreate and rework impressions of Norway’s natural landscape. Birdsong, waterfalls, rain and mountains all found a place in his compositions, and listeners are given a genuine experience of nature through his music. Grieg was a collector of the sounds of Norwegian nature, a sound collector.

The Sampler programme has two main components. One, the Sound of Norwegian Spring, is for  professionals. The other, Lydverkstedet, (the Sound Workshop) is intended for children and young people. Each component has been split into two phases: sound collection and artistic processing. The resulting material will be presented to the public at an exhibition.

The Sound of Norwegian Spring
Although we might ask what use Grieg would have made of modern technology had he been alive today, an even more interesting question may be how composers and sound artists express an interest in the sounds of nature today. “Field recording”, where artists compose pieces based on sound recordings from nature and cultural events, is a broad genre within electronic music and sound art. Some artists simply play the recordings unaltered, as a recorded moment in time, while others rework recordings into new pieces. The Sampler programme is issuing a challenge to today’s artists within electronic music and sound art to produce pieces based on the sounds from Norwegian nature and folk culture that inspired Grieg.

As part of the Sleppet programme, artists are being invited to tour western Norway in April and May 2007, to experience and record its nature and rural culture. The itinerary will include Nordfjord during the horse-mating season, Jostedalbreen (the Jostedal glacier), Utvær (Norway’s westernmost point) and Bergen in all its drizzly spring glory. Spring offers a wealth of tonal and conceptual inspiration, in nature, towns and cities. The works resulting from the tour will be put together into an exhibition that will open in Bergen in September and later go on tour in Norway and abroad.

Lydverkstedet
The Lydverkstedet programme will encourage children and young people to engage with the following questions and activities:
– What inspired Grieg? Was it nature and cultural life?
– Be as inspired as Grieg. Use present-day sounds and composition tools to try out your own musical ideas and compositions. Does Grieg have any compositional tricks to teach creative people today?

Lydverkstedet is a cooperation project between Grieg 07, Rikskonsertene and the new website musikkverksted.no, which is being developed jointly by Drivhuset (a foundation that promotes music workshops), Kulturbyrået Mesén (a company that develops cultural projects) and various other music and educational organisations. The project is based on methodology and technology being developed for musikkverksted.no by a team of people from Oslo University College, Musikk i Skolen (an organisation promoting music teaching in schools) and Drivhuset.

Children and young people will be guided through their own sound world, and will create their own sound art with the help of easy-to-use musical technology and experienced artists and composers.

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Edvard Grieg, 1903Photo: Foto E. Bieber / The Grieg Archives / Bergen Public Library

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