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Edvard Grieg explored in new books

Six months before the centenary anniversary of the death of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, two new books that investigate parts of his life and works are published in the UK.

Edvard Grieg (1843 – 1907) is considered the greatest composer Norway has fostered. He is best known for his 'Piano Concerto in A minor', for his incidental music to Henrik Ibsen's play 'Peer Gynt', and for his 'Lyric Pieces' for the piano. Two new books about Grieg are now published in the UK:

'Edvard Grieg in England'
Lionel Carley

When Edvard Grieg came to give his first concerts in London, he had the world at his feet. As the first composer to transmute the sights and sounds of his own spectacular country into music, he was held to be both prophet and pioneer, and English writers described him as the most popular of all living composers, commenting, when he returned to London the following year, on the 'Grieg fever' that raged in the capital.

Between 1862 and 1906 Grieg spent some six months of his life in this country, for most of the time engaged in giving concerts of his own music as conductor, solo pianist and accompanist. Celebrated by his fellow musicians - among them Delius, Parry, Henry Wood and Grainger - Grieg was befriended by royalty, heaped with honours that included doctoral degrees from Cambridge and Oxford, pleaded in high quarters the cause of Norwegian independence, and found new friends who effected a profound change in his religious outlook.

This book explores the impact he had on England as well as examining what the country meant to him, showing how England had a far greater influence on Grieg's life and career than has hitherto been recorded. It also offers an array of fascinating insights into the musical life and milieu of the time.
Lionel Carley is honorary archivist of the Delius Trust and respected author of many books about Delius.
Published by Boydell & Brewer Ltd. Available now.

'Grieg - Music, Landscape and Norwegian Identity'
Daniel M. Grimley

Daniel Grimley examines the role which music and landscape played in the formation of Norwegian cultural identity in the nineteenth century, and the function that landscape has performed in Grieg's work. While Grieg's music continues to enjoy a prominent place in the concert hall and recording catalogues, it has yet to attract sustained analytical attention in Anglo-American scholarship. Grieg's work presents new perspectives on the relationships between music, landscape and identity. This tension between competing musical discourses - the folklorist, the nationalist and the modernist - offers one of most vivid narratives in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century music, and suggests that Grieg is a more complex and challenging historical figure than his critical reception has often appeared to suggest. It is through the contested category of landscape, this book argues, that these tensions can be contextualised and ultimately resolved.
Published by Boydell & Brewer Ltd. Available now.

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'Edvard Grieg in England' and 'Grieg - Music, Landscape and Norwegian Identity' are out nowPhoto: Boydell & Brewer