Peer Gynt

https://www.discogs.com/Grieg-Sir-John-Barbirolli-Sheila-Armstrong-Hallé-Orchestra-Peer-Gynt/release/8107017

Grieg wrote Norwegian romantic nationalist music. He was proud of his country and wanted to show as much as he could about it. So his music is colourful, and full of little local melodies and stories. So when Henrik Ibsen wrote his fairytale play Peer Gynt in 1867, it was only natural to ask Grieg for the music.

This kind of music is called incidental. It serves to underline what happens in the play, much like an opera. But it also stand apart from what was being said, unlike opera. Usually you’ll come across the suite version of this work: a shorter version, much like a synopsis with the highlights of the bigger piece. This record has the highlights from the incidental music, but not in its suite form.

Many well known melodies are there, like “In the hall of the mountain king”, or “Anitras dance”. For an introduction, maybe the suite is easier, but these highlights are still interesting for people getting into classical music. I cannot find this particular version on Spotify, but I’m sure there’ll be lots of others.

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